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Feature by Swimming World intern Valerie Podbelski and Celeste Cirillo-Penn
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 15. THE last session of the 2012 CeraVe Invitational featured an assault on the meet record books, while Germantown's Arthur Frayler capped off an extremely successful weekend of work earning his third meet record of the competition with a meet standard in the men's 1500 free.
Frayler's time of 15:12.47 in the 1500 free, eclipsed the previous meet record of 15:29.34 that he set in 2011. Frayler also earned an Olympic Trials cut in the process.
"I'm happy really," Frayler said of his overall performance and three meet records. "I think the first record was Fran's. It meant a lot to get that. The whole night [Friday] was really emotional. I saw the Crippens tonight, and I'm really close to them. Fran was in my position and he set records years ago. It's a nice feeling to break those records."
Frayler's mentor and friend Crippen tragically died in an open water race in October of 2010. Crippen was honored prior to this evening's session with a moment of silence. This practice is becoming a tradition before the men's mile for many meets throughout the country.
Thomas Duvall came in second in the metric mile with 15:49.14, earning himself an Olympic Trials cut, and Bryan Draganosky took third with 16:02.97.
Forrest Davis claimed a victory in the 200 breast. Davis won with a time of 2:21.14, earning himself a Junior National cut. Victor Luo came in second with 2:24.32 and David Diaz took third with a time of 2:27.04.
"I wanted to go out of it slower so I had more in the back half," Davis said. "I think I could have gone a little bit faster, but overall it was good."
Connor Green took home his second win of the meet with a time of 2:04.72 in the 200 back, achieving an Olympic Trials cut in the process. Christian Yeager took second with 2:05.76 and Luke Papendick finished third with 2:07.48.
"I just wanted to come close to my best and definitely get the trial cut again…that was my motivation," Green said of the race. "I wanted to go faster, but just having the 200 breast before took a toll on my legs."
Geoff Meyer finished in first in the 100 free with a time of 51.99. Jeremy Wong came in second with 52.32, while Michael Domagala finished third with 52.89.
"I wanted to take it out faster than this morning and hold on," Meyer said. "[My performance was] pretty good. It's my best time since I was swimming back when I was in college."
In the 200 fly, Roger Dent took home the victory with 2:03.88, earning himself an Olympic Trials cut. Michael Lennon came second with 2:07.21 and Jake Goldstein finished the race in third with a time of 2:07.62.
"[My strategy was] just to try to stay low in the water the whole race, and descend the last three 50s," Dent said. "I'm really happy to get a Trials cut when I'm not shaved or tapered."
Somerset Valley YMCA-NJ won the 400 free relay. The team of Ethan Louie, Brad Zdroik, David Chung and Jeffrey Donovin finished with a time of 3:39.07. Long Island Aquatic Club took second with 3:40.57 and Lakeland Hill YMCA came in third with 3:42.45
"Coming off a hard training, I'm definitely really happy about this weekend," David Chung said. "Our whole team swam really fast."
The women started Sunday night finals strongly. Starting with the 1500 free, race winner Rachel Zilinskas, a member of the Germantown Academy Aquatic Club, finished with a final time of 16:37.32. Dropping more than a second from her seed time, Zilinskas also beat the meet record previously held by Kirsten Groome from 2006.
"I'm really proud I could finish the race with such a great time," Zilinskas said. "It's great that I can honor a former teammate, Fran Crippen, in such a way."
Finishing in second place, Rebecca Fleming from the Cougar Aquatic Team-NJ ended the race with a time of 17:15.09. Also from the Cougar Aquatic Team-NJ, Cailley Silbert placed third with a final time of 17:15.12.
From Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics-MR (AGUA), first-place winner Annie Zhu, finished the 200 meter breaststroke with a final time of 2:31.37. After "getting enough sleep, eating a good lunch, and just resting up for the day," Zhu made the Olympic Trial cut. "I'm extremely happy about my time. I haven't hit 31 in a while so it feels really great."
Germantown Academy Aquatic Club's Madeline Maher placed second with a time of 2:36.92. Maher made the Junior National cut with her time. Bluefish Swim Club's Brooke Zeiger finished in third with a time of 2:40.47.
As the night went on, the women continued to swim strong. In the 200 meter backstroke, the top three finalists beat the Olympic trial time. From the Delaware Swim Team, Kaitlyn Jones placed first with a time of 2:16.69.
"I worked really hard in today's race. It felt really smooth, and I performed so much better than I did this morning," said Jones.
Coming in second Zeiger, who placed third in the 200 meter breaststroke, finished the race in 2:17.07. Zilinskas, who placed first in the 1500 meter freestyle race, finished in 2:17.07.
Lia Neal finished the 100 meter freestyle race with a time of 55.88, clearing the Olympic Trials cut in the win. That time cleared the meet record of 56.00 set by Katie Hoff back in 2007.
"Although it wasn't my best time, I'm really happy with how I placed," Neal said after the race.
Meagan Dollard, from Germantown Academy Aquatics Club, finished the race in 58.45. Lily Dubroff, from Delaware Swim Team, placed third with a time of 58.44.
AGUA's own Isla Hutchinson-Maddox won the 200 meter butterfly. Finishing with a time of 2:14.86, Hutchinson-Maddox qualified for the Olympic Trial cut.
"I'm really happy with my time. I haven't hit 2:14 for two years now so this was really great. My team and I just came back from Colorado Springs where we trained at altitude and it felt amazing swimming to swim back at normal altitude so I'm sure that helped a lot," said Hutchinson-Maddox after the race.
Caitlin Casazza, from YMCA of Northwest NC Riptyde, finished the race second in 2:15.83. She also beat the Olympic Trial cut. Shortly after Casazza came third-place winner, Erin McElfresh from the Lansing Cats. She finished the race with a time of 2:19.85.
And, the night that started strong, ended strong as the Lakeland Hills YMCA relay team featuring members, Ingrid Shu, Abby Fisher, Meghan Kiely, and Meghan Thompson, finished the race in 4:01.21 in the women's 400 free relay.
The girls could not have been more excited to win the race and after words they expressed, "we are just really, really, really happy to have won! We all got excited before the race and each of us did really well in individuals this morning so we just focused on going faster and it worked!" exclaimed Kiely.
The Eastern Express placed second with a time of 4:02.34 and the Badger Swim Club placed third with a time of 4:03.62.