Junior National Championships: Prelims Set Stage for Fast Racing on Last Night

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, August 17. TONIGHT the question on everyone's mind will be: can Allie Szekely and Gillian Ryan do it again? Both have won three Junior National titles over the course of the meet, and both are in finals tonight. Szekely is facing a tough 200IM field out of lane three, and Ryan will race the marathon 1500 freestyle. Whatever the outcome tonight, this morning's prelims session set the stage for some fast racing on the last night of the Junior National Championships.

200 Individual Medley:
Half of the women's 200IM finalists placed top-eight in the 400IM on the second night of finals. These repeat offenders include top-qualifier Allison Brown of the Pleasanton Seahawks, Crimson Aquatic's Margaret D'Innocenzo in second, Central Buck Allie Szekely in third, and Ozaukee Katherine Drabot, competing tonight out of lane two. North Baltimore's 100 freestyle champion Cierra Runge is also flexing her medley muscles, earing lane one in finals tonight. Tonight will be an interesting race, with the mix of sprint and distance swimmers peppering the top-eight.

The entire finals field is as follows:
Lane 1: Cierra Runge — North Baltimore (2:19.34)
Lane 2: Katherine Drabot — Ozaukee Aquatics (2:19.14)
Lane 3: Allie Szekely — Central Bucks (2:18.57)
Lane 4: Allison Brown — Pleasanton Seahawks (2:18.13)
Lane 5: Margaret D'Innocenzo — Crimson Aquatics (2:18.55)
Lane 6: Grace Carlson — Una Thsc-OR (2:18.83)
Lane 7: Ella Eastin — Irvine Novaquatics (2:19.26)
Lane 8: Addisynn Bursch — Unattached-IE (2:20.07)

200 breaststroke champion Steven Stumph of Orinda Aquatics posted a best time this morning in the 200IM, taking the top spot in finals tonight. Racing next to him in lane three is 400IM champion Andrew Seliskar. Seliskar added three and a half seconds this morning, dropping to third tonight despite being top seed in prelims. 200 freestyle champion Michael Domagala of Asphalt Green will put pressure on Stumph tonight from lane 5. Jacob Molacek of Greater Omaha had a stellar morning swim, dropping two seconds (from a 2:09.01) to qualify sixth for finals.

The entire finals field is as follows:
Lane 1: Joshua Quallen — Dayton Raiders (2:07.44)
Lane 2: Daniel Conway — Blue Devil (2:07.00)
Lane 3: Andrew Seliskar — CUBU-PV (2:06.85)
Lane 4: Steven Stumph — Orinda Aquatics (2:05.04)
Lane 5: Michael Domagala — Asphalt Green (2:05.46)
Lane 6: Patrick Miller — Dads Club Swim (2:06.95)
Lane 7: Jacob Molacek — Greater Omaha (2:07.02)
Lane 8: Robert Owen — Crimson Aquatics (2:07.57)

50 freestyle:
A number of finalists are making repeat finals appearances in the sprint events. Tonight's 50 freestyle top qualifier, Faith Johnson of Star Aquatics, took fourth in the 100. SwimMAC teammates Nora McCullagh and Lauren Rhodes sandwich Johnson in finals, respectively placing second and third for finals. Look for outside pressure tonight from 100 freestyle champion Cierra Runge, who added over eight tenths this morning with a 26.50, but has proven her sprinting capabilities in the 100.

The entire finals field is as follows:
Lane 1: Victoria Toris — Scottsdale (26.40)
Lane 2: Mary Schneider — Academy Bullets (26.39)
Lane 3: Lauren Rhodes — SwimMAC Carolina (26.34)
Lane 4: Faith Johnson — Star Aquatics (26.20)
Lane 5: Nora McCullagh — SwimMAC Carolina (26.24)
Lane 6: Lindsey Engel — Orange County (26.36)
Lane 7: Iris Brand — Pleasanton Seahawks (26.39)
Lane 8: Cierra Runge — North Baltimore (26.50)

On the men's side, North Texas' Brett Ringgold earned the middle lane tonight, beating out 100 freestyle champion Santo Condorelli for the position. Condorelli, of the Bolles Swim School, took a few tenths off this morning, clocking a 23.17. Terrapins Ryan Barsanti takes third after dropping almost half a second in prelims, down from a 23.65.

The entire finals field is as follows:
Lane 1: Sven Campbell — Orinda Aquatics (23.63)
Lane 2: Connor Black — Cats Aquatics (23.44)
Lane 3: Ryan Barsanti — Terrapins (23.29)
Lane 4: Brett Ringgold — North Texas (23.12)
Lane 5: Santo Condorelli — Bolles Swim (23.17)
Lane 6: John Murray — Alamo Area Aquatics (23.44)
Lane 7: Andrew Sansoucie — Rec Plex Sharks (23.57)
Lane 8: Erik Risolvato — Unattached-OH (23.64)

The morning session concluded with two heats of swim-offs. Four women competed for first and second alternate standing, with Brenda Cha of Lake Oswego Swim taking the win, smashing her morning time by half a second (26.59, down from a 27.08). The time would have placed her 11th in finals. Second went to Highlands; Annie Ochitwa, who took two tenths off her morning time with a 26.80.

The men had a three-way swim-off for 24th between Joseph Halsmer of the Sterling Stingrays, Alexander Hutchinson of the Cincinnati and Stuart Sharp of Cypress Fairbank. All three swam a 24.18. Halsmer took the win in a 23.75, shaving four tenths off from his morning time. The time would have placed him ninth in finals.

Be sure to check out all of Peter Bick's photos in the Junior Nationals Photo Gallery, like the one below:

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