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By Erin Quinn
BUFFALO, New York, August 3. THERE was no shortage of fast swimming on the third night of finals at the Speedo Champions Series in Buffalo, N.Y. Up-and-coming age-groupers, soon-to-be collegiate freshman and accomplished collegiate swimmers, some of whom had just fallen short of their bid to make the USA’s World Championship team for Barcelona were back-to-the-grind at the ECC Burt Flickinger Aquatic Center.
The 200-meter fly finals began with another first-place finish for Greenwood Swimming star, Megan Brown, 16, who won handedly with a 2:16.25, with Margaret Gruber, 17, headed to Virginia Tech this fall for her collegiate swimming, in second place with a 2:17.44. Schenectady Sharks’ Amy Bopp, who will be heading to Buckeye Country as an Ohio State freshman this autumn clinched third place with a 2:18.65. Bopp was slated to be at Junior Nationals in Irvine, Calif., but suffered a cracked-rib and is just making her way back to the pool now.
The men’s 200-meter fly went to Virginia Tech’s James Crabb, 20, in a 2:03.83. He said it wasn’t his “best swim,” but he was “happy to get first place,” at this high-intensity end-of-summer meet. He was more than two seconds ahead of second-place finisher, Kyle Higgins, 18, of MLAC-AM, who clocked a 2:06.11, while third went to 21-year-old Shawn Parkhurst of TTSC-Niagara, with a 2:06.67.
Gruber had another great race, just after her 200-meter fly in the women’s 100-meter backstroke, winning out of lane 3 with a time of 1:03.17. Casey Fazio, 18 of Penn State, was second with a 1:03.63 and Schenectady Sharks’ Kathryn Rowe, also a Penn State sophomore, was third with a 1:04.56 a second-plus off of her best time.
“That’s okay,” said Rowe with a humble smile. “I’m going to go a 2:13 in my 200 back tomorrow and make it up to myself!”
The men’s 100 backstroke lit the pool on fire with Shane Ryan, a Penn State product, third at the World Championship Trials in the 50 back and fourth in the 100 backstroke. He blasted at 54.84 to win by two body lengths with Jacob Siar finishing 2nd in a 57.36. Ryan Dudzinski, 17 of USCS-AM was third with a 57.82
The 400 meter freestyle finals exhilarated the crowd with former USA Junior National Team member, Camryne Morris, soon to join the exhilarated Tennessee Lady Vols’ team this fall, decimating the field with a 4:16.45. Morris went a 4:11.51 in 2012 and said she knows she can “do much better, but I’m happy with that race. Just gives me a sense of where I am and where I need to be.”
The second-place finisher touched eight seconds behind Morris, Lauren Matevish, 20 of TPIT-AM, in a time of 4:24.07 and then the spit-fire, Karlee Cariminati, only 14 years old of LIAC-Metro blasted a 4:25.52 for third place.
Penn State prodigy Seth Wensel, 22, won the 400 meter freestyle easily with a 4:06.21 followed by Jonathan Bur, 20, out of Connecticut with a 4:08.77.
The 4×200 Free Relays rounded out the night with a tight race between Carter Center Aquatic Club out of Virginia and Team Pittsburgh, with CCAC nailing a Junior National time-cut with a 8:39.24 and Pittsburgh finishing second with an 8:39.97
The men’s 4×200 Meter Freestyle relay was won by Team Pittsburgh by almost 13 seconds in front of Webster Swim Association, with Pitt clocking an 8:09.29 and Webster an 8:22.08.
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