Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
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ORLANDO, Florida, March 20. THE 400 IM lived up to its hype on the third night of the NCSA Junior National Championships. The notoriously difficult event came down to the wire on both the women and men's side.

Women's 400 IM:

The women truly showed their grit in the A final. Both Dynamo's Kylie Stewart, Ozaukee Aquatic's Katherine Drabot swam the 200 freestyle earlier in the night. Stewart, who placed second in the 200 freestyle and won the 200 back on the second night of finals pulled far ahead of the field during the butterfly leg, thanks in part to her dynamite underwaters. Stewart turned at a 56.29 at the 100 and held her lead through the backstroke. However, Katherine Drabot turned it up on the breaststroke leg and pulled ahead slightly going into the freestyle. Drabot posted her first win of the meet in the event with a 4:09.43. Stewart slipped to second with a 4:10.22.

"[I was] just trying to stay as close [to Stewart] as possible in the first half and using the second half to gain on her," said Drabot after her race.

Men's 400 IM:

Outside smoke kicked off the men's 400 IM A final. Jacob Miller, out in lane 8, posted a ridiculously fast 50.30 butterfly leg opener. Miller maintained his lead by a second through the backstroke, but slipped to third behind Connor Bentz and Sam McHugh after the breaststroke leg.

McHugh and Bentz made the race a nailbiter, turning with only five one hundredths between them at the last 50. Although McHugh was shaved and tapered and a talented distance swimmer, Bentz slipped his hand on the wall first for the win with a 3:45.53 to McHugh's 3:45.81. Bentz and McHugh's times qualified both for Sr. Nationals.

"I've had a lot of tight races in the freestyle," said Bentz to Swimming World. "I thought he had it, but it came down to that last 25. It was fun."