Michael Andrew
Courtesy of: Christopher Rattray
CLEARWATER, Florida, March 26. MICHAEL Andrew took down yet another National Age Group record, this time in the 200 IM, while 16-year-old Aiden Burns put on a show in the 1000 free and then gave Andrew all he could handle in the 200 IM during the first night of racing at the NASA Junior National Championship Cup in Clearwater, Fla.

In the women's 200 medley relay, Old Dominion Aquatic Club's Mary Bernadette Escobar (26.70), Susan Hynes (29.03), Logan Williams (25.61) and Chase Walker (23.31) topped the 17-18 division in 1:44.65, ahead of Quest Swimming (1:46.21) and Phoenix Aquatic Club (1:47.71). The Marietta Marlins picked up the win in the 16-and-under division with a final time of 1:49.16. First Colony Swim Team (1:50.94) and Team Foxjet (1:51.36) finished second and third. In the boys' 17-18 medley relay, Tide Swimming's Mark Wilson (23.72), Austin Temple (24.77), Harrison Pierce (21.71) and Austin Ryan (20.99) earned a three-second victory with a 1:31.19. The Marietta Marlins took second in 1:34.67, while Old Dominion came in third with a 1:35.45.

In the 1000 free, Stephanie Peters of Marietta Marlins picked up a 10-second win with a 9:51.08, comfortably ahead of Badger Swim Club's Mariajose Oceguera (10:01.90) and La Mirada Armada's Kira Makuta (10:06.12). La Mirada Armada's Taylor Ault won the 16-and-under division in the quickest time overall, as she touched in 9:50.38 to drop 10 seconds from her seed time. Badger's Anina Lund also broke 10 minutes with a 9:59.60, while Delia Weber rounded out the top three in 10:03.42.


Hometown boy and University of Pennsylvania-bound Taylor Uselis of Clearwater Aquatic Team brought home the men's 17-18 1000 free title with a stellar 9:13.20. He finished more than 17 seconds in front of Badger's Matthew Lantin, who took second in 9:30.41. Robert Rowledge of Schenectady-Saratoga Swim Club rounded out the top three in 9:35.99. In the 16-and-under division, Santa Clara Swim Club's Aiden Burns threw down a swim for the ages, dropping almost 24 seconds and touching in 8:51.80. He just missed Jeff Kostoff's 1982 National Age Group record of 8:49.97, one of the oldest remaining records on the books. Clearwater's Nazareno Boscaino touched second in 9:04.10, while Williamsburg Aquatic Club's John Kale claimed third place honors in 9:16.45.

Two swimmers broke the 2:00 barrier in the women's 200 IM, led by Sarasota's Vien Nguyen in 1:58.10. Lisa Bratton of the Tri-City Channel Cats finished .47 behind in 1:58.57, well in front of Greenwood Swimming's Megan Brown (2:03.19). Molly Pierce of Shawmut Aquatic Club topped the 16-and-under division by half a second with a 2:04.52, with Rose Smiddy of the AquaKids Sharks right on her heels in 2:05.06. Britheny Joassaint of the Marietta Marlins out-touched Marcella Ruppert-Gomez of Clearwater for third, 2:05.81 to 2:05.82.

Ryan Kao of La Mirada Armada pulled away for a half-second win in the men's 17-18 200 IM, breaking 1:50 in the process with a final time of 1:49.89. Bend Swim Club's Brandon Deckard had the lead going into the last 50 but just fell off the pace, touching in 1:50.44 for second. Michael Craddock of the Virginia Gators finished right behind Deckard in third at 1:50.45.

In the 16-and-under 200 IM, Indie Swimming's Michael Andrew and Santa Clara's Aiden Burns brought the house down with an epic battle. Andrew, the newly minted National Age Group record-holder in the event, dropped another two seconds off his best with a sizzling 1:45.29. He finished only .07 in front of Burns, who's 1:45.36 is only a second off Andrew Seliskar's 1:44.03 from last year. Andrew's splits were 22.26, 26.13, 31.20 and 25.70, while Burns split 22.97, 26.18, 31.27 and 24.94. Tristan Furnary of Multnomah Athletic Club finished a distant third in the event in 1:50.34, still an incredible time for a 16-year-old.

After finishing second in the 200 IM, Tri-City Channel Cats' Lisa Bratton got to the wall first in her second individual event of the night, the 50 back. Bratton hit the wall in 25.32, comfortably ahead of First Colony's Madison Varisco (25.86) and Old Dominion's Mary Bernadette Escobar (26.25). Madeline Banic of Quest Swimming had the fastest overall time from the 16-and-under event with a 24.76. Phoenix Aquatic Club's Christina Paspalas followed in second with a 25.31, while Clearwater's Sydney Pickrem took third in 25.59.

Three swimmers cleared 23 in an exciting finish to the men's 17-18 50 back. Tide Swimming's Harrison Pierce topped the heat in 22.67, just a hair in front of Quest's Joshua York (22.74) and Bend Swim Club's Brandon Deckard (22.78). Phoenix Aquatic Club's John Kilduff joined the 22 club with a 22.87 from the 16-and-under division. He touched well ahead of Matthew Lujan (23.39) and John Hartmeier of Bend Swim Club (23.62).