Kyle Higgins Wins Second Event, Team Pittsburgh Claims 800 Free Relay At Buffalo Sectionals

By Erin Quinn

BUFFALO, New York, July 26. KYLE Higgins picked up another win, while star of the meet Kathryn Rowe finished second twice on the third night of swimming at the Buffalo sectional meet.

All the big guns showed up at finals on night three of Super Speedo Sectionals in Buffalo, N.Y. Schenectady Shark’s Kathryn Rowe (of Penn State) lost her first race of the meet, coming in second to Auburn’s Kristen Murslack in the 200-meter butterfly as Murslack posted a 2:17.63, a national cut. Rowe touched in 2:18.56.

Dominating the men’s butterfly once again was Kentucky’s Kyle Higgins, 19, who surged to the finish against a tough collegiate heat with a 2:00.71, a national cut and just a hair shy of the meet record (2:00.03.) Higgins, who won the men’s 100-meter butterfly Friday evening, was followed in the 200 by University of Pittsburgh’s Martin Vogel (2:01.82). Third place went to Kazumu Takabayashi of Duke, who finished with a 2:02.60.

Indiana University claimed two first place finishes in the women’s and men’s 100-meter backstroke, with Hoosier Justine Ress, 21, setting a new meet record with a 1:02.20, followed by Schenectady Sharks and Penn State swimmer Kathryn Rowe, who added another second place finish (adding to her three first place finishes the previous two days) with a 1:03.65. Interestingly enough, both Ress’ brother and father swam for IU and her father was an Olympic swimmer for the French national team.

Albany Starfish’ Ryan Gordon, an incoming freshman at the University of Indiana, did not disappoint as top-seed in the 100-meter backstroke, launching himself to first place with his classical backstroke style in 57.24. Second place went to Matthew Tankle, 20, from the University of Pittsburgh, who touched at 58.39. Third place went to the multi-time 2014 New York state varsity champion and Notre Dame-bound Justin Plashka, winner of the 100-meter freestyle on Thursday night, in 58.43.

In the 400-meter freestyle it was Virginia Tech swimmer Camryne Morris, 19, who charged ahead of the field with a 4:20.86. Morris was followed by two up-and-coming age-groupers — Lindsay Stone, 15, of PACK-NI who came in a close second with a 4:21.22, and 16-year-old Kaitlin Stearns, who finished third with a 4:25.21.

New York state champion several times over and Harvard-bound swimmer Jack Boyd, 18, obliterated the A-final of the men’s 400-meter freestyle, clocking a 4:02.74. The gentle giant was followed by Samuel Rutan, 18, of ANSC-AM in 4:05.07 and University of Pittsburgh’s happy-go-lucky David Sweeney, who secured third place with a 4:05.64.

The 800-meter freestyle relays were dominated by Team Pittsburgh. Although the women were the second seed coming into finals, their team won handily against top-seed Team Titans with an 8:38.61. The Titans fended off a battle for second place against Machine Aquatics, 8:43.29 to 8:44.26.

Riding the high of the girls’ relay, Pittsburgh’s men’s relay, seeded fourth coming into finals, nearly broke the meet record and crushed their competition by nine seconds with a 7:45.32. They were followed by the SoNoCo Swim Club, who just out-touched Machine Aquatics, 7:54.31 to 7:54.47.

Going into the final day, Team Pittsburgh Aquatics leads the combined, men’s and women’s score with 556 points to Machine Aquatics 358 points. But tomorrow is a new day, and includes the 50-meter freestyle as well as the 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter breaststroke, women’s 1500-meter freestyle, the men’s 800-meter freestyle and of course, the 4×100 medley relays.

Complete results are available on the Meet Mobile app.

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Author: Emily Sampl

Emily Sampl, an editorial assistant for Swimming World Magazine, is a freelance writer for USA Swimming and an assistant coach at Boulder High School and Boulder Elks Swim Team in Colorado. Emily graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and master's degree in sport administration from the University of Northern Colorado.

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