Editorial coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA
BUFFALO, New York, March 24. THE North Region Speedo Sectional Champions Series saw its share of noteworthy races this past weekend. The long-course meet started with a fast distance night, during which Leah Smith and Isabella Rongione clocked number one times in the nation in the 1500 freestyle in their age groups.
The following night, the women's 200 meter freestyle saw North Baltimore's Gillian Ryan break the two-minute barrier, at a 1:59.52, for the event win. 1500 freestyle winner Jewish Community Center's Leah Smith came in second at a respectable 2:01.24. North Baltimore's Mary Pelton and Carmel Swim Club's Claire Adams rounded out the top four with a 2:03.90 and 2:04.25, respectively. All of the top four ladies qualified for Winter Nationals.
On the men's side, the top three finishers all broke the 1:55 mark. Charles Cole of Berkeley Aquatics took the win at a 1:54.07, while Jack Boyd of Sweet Home Aquatics and Konstan Siokos took second and third at a 1:54.62 and 1:54.72.
North Baltimore's Jordan Surhoff won the women's 100 meter breaststroke by a full second at a 1:12.87, followed by a close win from Garrett Clarke of Liverpool Jets on the men's side, at a 1:05.67. The 100 butterfly was also a close race for the women, but Jen Marrkand of Patriot Swim Club pulled out the win at a 1:02.58. Sean Regan of Central Bucks made a US Open cut in the men's 100 butterfly, touching the wall first at a 55.06.
Greenwood Swimming's 400 IM winner Megan Brown just sneaked under the US Open cut at a 4:55.24, ahead of the Fish's Isabella Rongione, at a 4:58.69. Gavin Colley destroyed his preliminary swim time in the men's 400 IM on the second night of finals. The North Baltimore swimmer clocked a 4:29.64 for the win and a new US Open time, almost six seconds ahead of second-place finisher PJ Ransford of PACK Swim Team.
The night ended with North Baltimore sweeping the 800 freestyle relays. taking the win on the women's side at an 8:26.27 and a 7:59.28 on the men's.
On the third night of competition, Carmel Swim Club kicked the night off with a 1-2 finish in the women's 200 medley relay, at a 1:57.91 and 1:59.97. Central Bucks took the win for the men at a 1:47.56.
100 butterfly winner Marrkand doubled her wins and snagged a US Open time in the 200 butterfly, at a 2:15.91. Following the butterfly double win trend, Regan took the 200 butterfly title for the men, at a 2:03.87 — also a US Open cut. A 26.39 was good enough for Carmel Swim Club's Claire Adams to win the splash-and-dash 50 freestyle, while Siokos won the event for the men with a 23.90.
Lauren James of North Baltimore won the 200 breaststroke by nearly two seconds, clocking a 2:37.97. Michael McBryan of Central Bucks smoked his competition on the men's side, touching the wall at a 2:20.36, three seconds ahead of Garrett Clarke of Liverpool Jets.
Adams earned her second individual win of the night in the 100 backstroke, finishing with a respectable 1:02.69, over a second under the US Open cut. Ryan Gordon of the Albany Starfish took the backstroke win on the men's side, at a 58.44.
Ryan showed her freestyle skills again in the 400 meter race, winning the event handly at a 4:08.30. She was seven seconds ahead of Smith, who touched second at a 4:15.86, just ahead of third-place Rongione at a 4:16.34. 200 freestyle winner Cole battled it out with Ransford in the 400, touching just ahead of him at a 4:01.46 to Ransford's 4:01.53. Carmel Swim Club ended the night with a win in the women's 400 freestyle relay (3:52.82), while Central Bucks took the event on the men's side (3:36.21).
The final night of competition started with another relay win for Carmel in the women's 200 freestyle relay (1:48.58). Central Bucks posted a very fast 1:38.59 for the win on the men's side.
The women's 800 meter freestyle played out as expected based off of the previous days of competition. Ryan clocked an 8:35.25 for the event win, Smith came in second at an 8:40.89 and Rongione rounded out the top three at an 8:42.51. Ransford destroyed his competition in the men's 1500 meter freestyle, touching the wall at a 15:48.23, five seconds under the US Open time. Cole took a distant second at a 16:37.58.
Carmel's Claire Adams won the 200 backstroke by over two seconds, at a 2:15.54. The time currently ranks her second in the nation in the event among 14-year-olds. Ryan Gordon won the event for the men, at a 2:07.09.
Gillian added another win to her collection in the women's 100 freestyle. She outstripped the competition, touching the wall at a 56.40. 50 freestyle winner Siokos won the 100 freestyle for the men, at a 51.83.
In the last individual event of the meet, the 200 IM, Carmel Swim Club's Lacey Locke took the win amongst the women with a 2:20.95. Her teammate, Brennen Berger, won the men's medley at a 2:11.31. The meet ended up with Carmel taking the title in the women's 400 medley relay, at a 4:23.36, and Central Bucks winning the event on the men's side at a 3:57.95.