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 Erin Quinn
BUFFALO, New York, August 5. WHILE the lights dimmed on World Championships in Barcelona, the spotlight illuminated on the final night of the Speedo Champions Series held in Buffalo.
Schenectady Sharks’ Kathryn Rowe dominated the women’s 200 meter backstroke with at time of 2:17.57. Rowe will join the Penn State Women’s Swimming and Diving Team in the fall. Margaret Gruber, headed to Virginia Tech this fall and had a sensational Sections meet, took second in a clocking a 2:18.20, while Casey Fazio, 18 out of New Jersey, finished third with a time of 2:18.62.
With Penn State product, Shane Ryan, third place World Championship Trial finisher in the 50 back and fourth in the 100 back scratching Sunday’s races, the finals went to 19 year old Jacob Siar with a time of 2:03.63, more than three seconds ahead of the second place finisher, 16 year old Griffin Schaetzle of EAC-AM in a time of 2:06.85, almost 3 seconds off his best time.
Mackenzie Hornibrook, 18, blasted a 26.54 to win the women’s 50 meter freestyle, touching out Adriana Grabski, 17 with a 26.59.
The men’s 50 meter freestyle was explosive with Shane Austin, 21 of Penn State, traditionally a distance freestyler, clocking a 23.34, followed by 16 year old sprint star, Justin Plaschka, going a personal best for a second-place finish with a 23.55, just touching out James Martin, 21 from Connecticut who finished in 23.65
The 200 meter breaststroke revealed some solid swimming but no personal bests for this field of accomplished NCAA Division I swimmers with the exception of Veronica Lee, 20, of TRIT-MR who decimated her best time by almost 3 seconds, churning in a 2:32.84. Second place was NCAP’s Rachel Canty, 19, who lowered her time by a .33 touching with a 2:38.50, followed by 16 year old Sarah Slepian, of SCAR-NJ who was just off her personal best with a 2:40.77.
It was a wild-west ride in the men’s 200 meter breaststroke with 17 year old Mitchell Garland, of SSC-MA taking almost 7 seconds off his personal best time and winning the race with a 2:19.86. He was followed by the 16 year old Benjamin Cono of TS-MR, who plundered his best time by 7 seconds, with a finals time of 2:20.18.
For the 800 distance free, incoming Tennessee Lady Volunteer swimmer, Camryne Morris, was swimming against herself with the next closest swimmer, almost 6 seconds behind her. Morris clocked an 8:48.79 with 14 year old GAAC-MA swimmer, Karlee Cariminati touching second with a lifetime best by 10 seconds at 8:54.74.
In the men’s distance 1500 meter freestyle, the winner, Jonathan Burr was way off his best time with a 16:19.55, but the sparks came from the younger field with 15 year old Chris Balbo out of SCAR-NJ clocking a personal best of 16:39.93, almost 7 seconds better than his seed time, followed by 16 year old Jackson Etter, of NLAC-MA going a PB with a 16:24.78.
The relays had the crowds cheering with Team Pittsburgh winning the men’s 4×100 medley relay in a Junior National Time of 4:20.45 and Nation’s Capitol (NCAP) securing a Winter Junior National time of 4:22.60 in the women’s event.
This mixture of collegiate teams, club teams and age-groupers in a Super Speedo Meet (combining North and South) lent itself to an intense and fast meet, with many swimmers forgoing Nationals and Junior Nationals despite their solid cut-times to be closer to home and swim with their teams.