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By David Rieder
IRVINE, California, August 6. AFTER three meet records fell in day two prelims, four more went down in an exciting second evening of finals at the William Woollett Junior Aquatic Center, including one that previously belonged to Missy Franklin. Three of those races featured times that rank among the top-20 performances in the respective events this year.
Women’s 400 IM
Socal Aquatics’ Ella Eastin put up a blistering performance in the women’s 400 IM. Eastin blazed out to an early lead and pulled away from the field on the breaststroke leg. She ended up touching first in 4:38.94. That cut nearly 10 seconds from the 4:48.42 that was her best time to begin the day and also crushed the 4:45.94 she clocked in prelims. Eastin obliterated Jasmine Tosky’s meet record of 4:44.85 from 2010, and she moved into 11th in the world this year. Among Americans, only Elizabeth Beisel (4:31.69) and Maya Dirado (4:32.70) have swum faster.
Meanwhile, Bluefish’s Brooke Zeiger grabbed second in 4:43.84, and SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker touched third in 4:44.63. Both swam underneath Tosky’s previous meet record. Clearwater’s Becca Mann finished fourth in 4:47.15 after challenging for the top three for much of the race. Gator’s Hannah Burns used a blazing back half to claim a two second win in the B-final in 4:48.06. Lakeside’s Leah Stevens comfortably came out on top of the C-final, touching in 4:51.42.
Men’s 400 IM
Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz crushed his second meet record in as many nights his second victory of the meet. After taking a second and a half off the mark in the 200 breast on Monday, Bentz obliterated the mark in the 400 IM. Bentz held the lead at the 100 before touching fifth in an extremely tight race at the 200 split. He proceeded to pull away on the breast and free legs, and he ended up touching in 4:14.51. That chopped three seconds off the meet record of 4:17.58 that Dynamo’s Jay Litherland in prelims, which in turn clipped Kyle Whitaker’s previous mark of 4:17.59. The time also ranks as the 18th-best in the world this year.
Palo Alto Stanford’s Curtis Ogren finished second in 4:17.79, while Litherland settled for third in 4:18.87. Litherland had entered the heat seeking to match brothers Kevin and Mick as heat winners on the night. Kevin used an outstanding finish to touch out the B-final in 4:24.20, and Mick picked up the win in the C-final in 4:26.39.
Women’s 100 Free
Academy Bullets’ Mary Schneider broke 56 seconds twice in one day, and that earned her the Junior National title in the women’s 100 free. Schneider clocked 55.92 in prelims and then 55.79 in finals to beat out Schroeder Y’s Alexandra Meyers. Meyers touched second in 56.06, edging Kamehameha’s Jasmine Mau, who picked up third in 56.18. Meanwhile, SwimMAC Carolina’s Nora McCullagh put up a fast time of 56.14 to take the B-final win, while Scottsdale’s Victoria Toris came out on top of the C-final with a time of 56.57.
Men’s 100 Free
Two members of the Bolles School Sharks went head-to-head in the men’s 100 free as Caeleb Dressel battled Santo Condorelli for the entire race. Condorelli led at the 50, 23.29 to 23.32, but Dressel ended up touching out his teammate at the finish, 49.61 to 49.68. Both swam faster in prelims, with Condorelli posting a 49.38 and Dressel swimming the fastest time of the day at 49.28. North Texas Nadadores’ Brett Ringgold ended up taking third in 50.21.
Terrapins’ Justin Lynch put on a show in the B-final, dominating the field and winning by almost seven tenths of a second, clocking 50.56. Eagle Swim Association’s Steven Richardson came through for first place in the C-final in a time of 51.04.
Women’s 200 Back
Another meet record fell in the women’s 200 back, as Kylie Stewart blistered the field and finished with a 2:09.04, the 12th-best time in the world for 2013. That beat the meet record of 2:09.16 that Missy Franklin set in 2009, where she, at age 13, she first posted times competitive on the national stage. Stewart also took down her own best time of 2:09.99 in the winning effort. AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy finished second in 2:10.69 after leading the way in prelims with a 2:12.32, and Tri-City Channel’s Lisa Bratton grabbed third in 2:11.54. Palo Alto Stanford’s Ally Howe dominated the B-final to win in 2:13.10, while Socal’s Emily Eastin finished one second ahead of her competition in the C-final, touching third in 2:14.63.
Men’s 200 Back
Sarasota Y’s Alexander Katz and Bluefish’s Connor Green went head-to-head in the final after the pair traded the meet record in the prelims. The pair came off the final turn dead even but Katz edged ahead into the wall, winning in 1:58.83. Green came in second in 1:59.08, and both surpassed Katz’ meet record of 1:59.42. Dayton Raiders’ Brock Turner came in third at 2:02.68, meaning Katz and Green will remain the only two men in Junior Nationals history to have broken the 2:00-barrier.
Another Dayton Raider, Henrik Pohlmann, took the win in the B-final, clocking 2:02.76, while Pleasanton Seahawks’ Maxime Rooney grabbed first in the C-final in 2:03.17.
400 Free Relay
SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker (56.79), Nora McCullagh (56.30), Jessica Merritt (56.07) and Lauren Rhodes (56.42) scorched the women’s 400-meter free relay meet record with a 3:45.58. That swim popped the 3:46.68 set by PASA back in 2011. Meanwhile, Dynamo’s Caitlin Cooper (57.08), Kylie Stewart (57.15), Kathleen Cook (57.84) and Nicole Stafford (56.06) clinched second in 3:48.12. The 17 and 18 year olds, however, did crushed the listed 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record of 3:51.50 currently in the books by Tualatin Hills earlier this year.
In sixth-place, Scottsdale’s Samantha Fazio (59.16), Hannah Holman (58.47), Victoria Toris (56.80) and Amy Bilquist (56.63) clocked a 3:51.06, under their 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record of 3:51.39 also set earlier this year.
Redlands’ Kyle Coan (51.60), Kyle Gornwy (50.35), Michael Haney (52.09) and Daniel Ghomi (53.29) closed out the night with a 3:27.33 to capture the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay title this evening.