ORLANDO, Florida, March 21. THERE was a little bit of distance and a little bit of sprint present in the freestyle events on the fourth night of the NCSA Junior National Championships. The women tackled the 500 freestyle and Townley Haas claimed his fourth freestyle title of the meet several heats later.
Women’s 500 Freestyle:
15 minutes after Stewart won the 100 backstroke, the Dynamo swimmer was back behind the blocks preparing for the 500 freestyle. Stewart was first to the feet at the 100 with a 53.83, but the race was just getting started. By the 250, Sydney Lofquist (RAYS) had pulled ahead and was looking for her first individual title of the meet. Stewart attempted to match Lofquist’s splits, but she had too much room to make up by the last 100, with Lofquist turning seven tenths ahead of her competitor. Lofquist touched first with a 4:42.28, Stewart took second with a 4:42.75 and Paige Madden finished third with a 4:43.26.
“I wasn’t expecting to actually get first, so I usually try to keep myself from panicking,” Lofquist told Swimming World on the awards stand. “When you’re going into finals, anything can happen, so it doesn’t matter where you are seeded.”
Men’s 100 freestyle:
Following the 500, the men picked up the pace with the 100 freestyle. Tristan Sanders, the 200 backstroke champion, was the top seed going into the finals with a 44.23. However, lane 8’s Justin Plaschka made a bold statement the first 50 by taking the race out with a 21.88 to the feet. Plaschka tried his best to hold on to the lead, but was chased down by Townely Haas and James Jones. Haas won the event in a 43.82, upping his individual event title count to four. Haas had previously won the 1000, 500 and 200 freestyle. He has the 1650 freestyle tomorrow.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Haas said about his event load. Jones touched second in the 100 freestyle with a 43.97 and Plaschka slipped to third with a 44.11.