Courtesy of: SW
Speedo Champions Series editorial coverage this summer is proudly sponsored by SpeedoUSA. For all the latest coverage from sectionals this summer, check out our Summer of Speedo page.

By David Rieder

COLUMBIA, Missouri, July 17. SOME of the top swimmers in the Midwest have congregated at the University of Missouri for yet another Speedo Sectionals meet. The first night of racing featured several close contests between the high schoolers - and younger athletes - and the top swimmers of the University of Missouri.

The women's 200 breast brought the tightest finish of Wednesday's finals, where Lincoln Select's Ashley Pales led the entire race before she fell to the final 50 charge of Mizzou's Danielle Spradlin. Spradlin touched out Pales, 14, at the finish, 2:34.80 to 2:34.93. Spradlin took more than two seconds off her lifetime best on the day, while Pales can't have been too disappointed with her finish, having dropped more than five seconds. Mizzou's Lauren Stoeckel grabbed a distant third in 2:38.66. On the men's side, the AquaHawks' Gage Crosby took the 200 breast win in 2:19.18. Mizzou's Mackenzie Darragh finished second in 2:20.75, while Dolphin-Laser's Blair Bish touched third in 2:22.95.

Greater Omaha's Ryan Miksch led a tight finale of the men's 100 free at the halfway point, but Mizzou's Logan Mosley closed out the win with a strong second 50. Mosley touched first in 51.29, while Miksch touched out teammate Jacob Molacek for second, 51.61 to 51.65. The Huskers' Taryn Collura took the women's 100 free win with a 56.80 performance. Mizzou's Daniella Barbiea finished second in 57.32, while Edwardsville's Madeline Monroe touched third in 57.48.

Another 14 year old took the top spot in the women's 200 back as Chesapeake's Olivia Nanneman touched first in 2:17.60. Nanneman dropped a whopping eight seconds from her lifetime best for the title. She took the race out fast and held off a charge from Csp's Sarah Finley at the finish. Finley grabbed second in 2:17.60, catching Mizzou's Madison Bridges over the second 100. Bridges ended up third in 2:18.40. Missouri State's Paul Le took the top spot in the men's 200 back in 2:04.07. Meanwhile, Flyers' Nicholas Alexander used a strong final lap to pull away from the Kansas City Blazers' Louis Behnen for second, 2:05.43 to 2:05.87.

The Huskers' Bailey Pons beat out a pair of fast-improving teens to win the women's 800 free in 8:54.78. Chesapeake's Elizabeth Walker dropped more than 7 seconds to take second in 8:59.28, while Rockwood's Jordan Stout took off 9 on her way to a third-place 9:03.37. She held off a spirited charge from Saluki's Kelsie Walker, who cut a massive 19 seconds and grabbed fourth in 9:03.59. Mizzou's Eegan Groome won the men's 800 in 8:14.10, while Dolphin-Laser's Minki Kang grabbed second in 8:16.19. Rec Plex Sharks' Ryan Baker finished a distant third in 8:22.05.

Results: Speedo Champions Series, Columbia: Day One