Gunnar Bentz Wins Third Event of Junior Nationals; Three Meet Records Fall

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By David Rieder

IRVINE, California, August 8. THE penultimate night of swimming at the William Woollett Aquatic Center featured six more individual finals which led to three more meet records, bringing the total for the meet to 14. Gunnar Bentz, meanwhile, picked up his third win in four nights with a title in the men’s 200 free, and he also finished second to a meet record-breaking Carsten Vissering in the men’s 100 breast.

Women’s 200 Free
Longhorn’s Quinn Carrozza jumped out to a big lead from the start in the championship final, and although both Katherine Drabot and Katie McLaughlin tried to inch up on her, she maintained a sizeable edge over the field the entire race. Carrozza touched in 1:58.31, narrowly missing Lia Neal’s meet record of 1:58.26 from 2011. She had already clocked 1:58.36 at a Texas Senior Circuit meet in June, which originally put her in the top-30 in the world.

Mission Viejo’s McLaughlin ended up taking second in 1:59.20, and Ozaukee’s Drabot grabbed third in 1:59.32. Meanwhile, SwimMAC Carolina’s Nora McCullagh put on a strong performance to grab the win in the consolation final, clocking 2:01.45, while York YMCA’s Meghan Small cut almost two seconds from her preliminary time in claiming the bonus final win in a time of 2:01.65.

Men’s 200 Free
Duneland’s Blake Pieroni led the way for most of the race, but the field remained close behind. In the end, however, Pieroni didn’t have enough to hold off Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz, whose final 50 split of 27.50 out-split Pieroni’s by more than a second. Bentz earned the win, his third of the meet, in 1:49.57. He already won and set meet records in the 200 breast and 400 IM. Pieroni finished second in 1:49.98, and Sarasota Y’s Alexander Katz grabbed third in 1:50.17.

Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel threw down a monster performance in the B-final, setting the first meet record of the night. He clocked 1:48.64, obliterating Clay Youngquist’s time of 1:49.37 from 2010. Dressel also crushed the 15-16 National Age Group record, lowering the mark of 1:49.48 set by three-time Olympian Ian Crocker 15 years ago. Dressel now owns National Age Group records in the 50, 100, and 200 free, and he already won the 50 free at this meet. Dressel would have also liked the results of the C-final, where teammate Santo Condorelli clocked 1:51.52 for top honors.

Women’s 100 Breast
South Bend’s Bethany Galat staked herself to a decent lead on the first 50 of the 100 breast and held on for a tight win. She clocked 1:09.14, slower than the 1:09.00 she posted to lead all qualifiers in prelims but still good enough for first place. Galat held off a huge charge from Aquajets’ Olivia Anderson, who ended up touching second in 1:09.37 after closing the gap on the second 50. Meanwhile, SwimMAC’s Maija King took third in 1:09.56. The 200 breast champion on Monday, Roses had to use a huge finish to touch out Newburgh Sea Creatures’ Lillia King, who touched in 1:09.56.

Shorewood’s Rachel Munson pulled away on the second 50 as she took the win in the B-final in 1:11.30. King Aquatic Club’s Carolyn McCann won the C-final with a 1:11.52 performance.

Men’s 100 Breast
Nation’s Capital’s Carsten Vissering took a huge lead in the final of the men’s 100 breast on the first 50, and he held on for the win, beating out Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz at the finish. Vissering clocked 1:01.94 for a new meet record, faster than the 1:02.29 Christian Higgins set in 2010. Vissering also set a new 15-16 National Age Group record, beating the time set in the same swim by Higgins. Bentz, meanwhile, took second in 1:02.39 in his second race of the night, while Jersey Wahoos’ Andrew Schuehler picked up third in 1:02.73.

Loveland’s Nicolas Hatanaka led wire-to-wire in the B-final of the event, winning in 1:03.47. Current Swimming’s Thomas Brewer edged out a tight field to earn the C-final win in a time of 1:04.24.

Women’s 100 Back
AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy held a slight lead over King Aquatic Club’s Hannah Weiss at the 50, but she exploded down the stretch and popped an impressive swim to take the 100 back victory. Smidy touched in 1:00.51, an impressive time but still well short of Rachel Bootsma’s meet record of 59.77 set in 2009 during the high-tech suit era. Meanwhile, Dynamo’s Kylie Stewart used a blazing back half to take second in 1:01.44, adding to her medal haul after winning the 200 back previously. Weiss ended up taking third in 1:01.74.

Byron Center’s Taylor Garcia cruised to the win in the consolation final in a time of 1:02.75. Lakeside’s Asia Seidt came out on top of a tight race in the bonus final with a time of 1:03.28.

Men’s 100 Back
Greenwood Memorial’s Ryan Harty used a strong turn, underwater kickout, and breakout to establish a lead down the second 50 of the 100 back final, but as he tried to pull away, Bluefish’s Connor Green clawed into his lead. Still, Harty managed to hold off a strong finish from Green to take the win in 56.05, to Green’s 56.16. Dayton Raiders’ Henrik Pohlman, meanwhile, touched out Denver Swim Academy’s Hennessey Stuart for third, 56.71 to 56.75.

City of Mobile’s William Glass sprinted out to a big lead in the event’s B-final, but the field closed on him down the stretch, and Dayton Raiders’ Josh Quallen ended up stealing the win from lane one, touching out Glass, 57.13 to 57.15. In the C-final, Dayton Raiders’ Patrick Mulcare edged Albany Starfish’s Ryan Gordon for the win, 57.73 to 57.77.

Women’s 800 Free Relay
The age disparity of York YMCA’s relay this evening cost them a chance at breaking a host of U.S. National Age Group records as York blasted a meet record time of 8:10.13. That’s seven seconds faster than the 15-16 record of 8:17.06 currently held by SwimMAC, and edges the 17-18 record of 8:10.38 owned by Palo Alto Stanford.

However, the relay will only stand as the meet record with Courtney Harnish, 14 (2:02.66), Nicole Price, 17 (2:02.87), Emily Ilgenfritz, 15 (2:03.48) and Meghan Small, 15 (2:01.12) crushing the meet standard with their collective 8:10.13. That swim blasted the 8:12.15 set by NBAC just a year ago and is among the top age group relays ever. Colorado Stars’ amazing 8:07.45 from 2010 with Missy Franklin at the anchor still stands as the top age group relay in this event, but York made a push towards greater recognition tonight.

Dynamo’s Kathleen Cook (2:06.84), Kylie Stewart (2:02.36), Haley Durmer (2:04.90) and Nicole Stafford (2:00.96) clinched second in 8:15.06, while Mission Viejo’s Brooke Lorentzen (2:04.07), Kathryn McLaughlin (2:01.05), Sydney Franzen (2:03.45) and Grace Anderson (2:07.12) claimed third in 8:15.69.

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