By Brian Haddad
NASHVILLE, December 7. YOU would expect that after three full days of swimming, athletes at the 2003 Music City Invitational would be a little tired. You would be wrong. Two of the strongest swims of the meet were turned in Sunday night on the last two events of the meet.
24 year old Michael Gilliam of the Nashville Aquatic Club sent the fans home happy tonight as he smashed his own Tracy Caulkins Competition Pool record in the Men's 100 yard Backstroke with a 47.92. The swim is well under the National Championship Standard and almost a full second faster than the previous pool record of 48.84 set in 1997.
Just moments before Gilliam's swim, Margo McCawley of Memphis Thunder completed her fantastic meet by swimming to a very fast 54.50 in the Women's 100 yard Backstroke. The swim establishes two more Southeastern Swimming LSC records for McCawley as she set new marks in the 17-18 and Open divisions. Previous records were held by Olympians Joan Pennington (17-18 Girls 55.84 in 1978) and Beth Barr (Open Girls 55.73 in 1986) respectively.
18 year old Samantha Vanderbilt of Nashville Aquatic Club also swam under the National Standard and 17-18 Southeastern record, placing second with a 55.81.
Swim Atlanta phenom Amanda Weir completed her dominance of the Freestyle events, winning the Women's 100 yard Freestyle in 49.33. Nashville's William also won the Men's 100 yard Freestyle in a National Time of 44.83.
The sprinters weren't the only ones displaying their skills on Sunday. The 1650 Free featured a great collection of distance swimmers and their performances did not disappoint. 17 year old Lindsay McIlvain of Nashville Aquatic Club won the 15 & Over mile with a National Time of 16:35.36. The heat also included National Championship Qualifying times from 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Julia Stowers of Pilot-Knoxville (16:43.11) and 13 year old sensation Chelsea Franklin of Gulf Coast Swim Team (16:43.20) Franklin's swim was fastest for 13-14 Girls.
Nashville Aquatic Club held on to win the team competition over a late charging Swim Atlanta. Pilot-Knoxville placed third followed by Lakeside Seahawks and Carmel Swim Club. The meet featured twenty-one National Championship Qualifying Times and well over forty U.S. Open Standards.