ORLANDO, Florida, March 21. THE first full day of short course yard prelims, long course meter finals action kicked off in a big way at the National Club Swimming Association Junior Nationals held in Orlando, Fla. The meet is being broadcast LIVE via pay per view by SwimmingWorld.TV. For more on ordering the stream, click here.
Aquajets' Rachel Bootsma led off the evening's finals with a lifetime best 56.02 to win the women's 100-meter free. That swim bettered the 56.24 she clocked at the Missouri Grand Prix last month. All Star's Caroline McTaggart, 15, finished second in 56.63, while Curl Burke's Katie Ledecky, 15, took third in 56.71. Ledecky is coming off a pair of U.S. National Age Group records last night. Notable times from other final heats were Academy Bullets' Mary Schneider (56.88), Topeka's Haley Molden (56.94), Verona's Sierra Kuhn (57.52).
New Trier went 1-2 in the men's 100 free with Max Grodecki winning in 50.92, while teammate Reed Malone clocked a 51.06 for second. Grodecki just missed his top time of 50.90 from the 2011 Speedo Junior Nationals last August. SwimAtlanta's Brent Murray earned third-place honors with a 51.13.
Shortly after cracking 1:00 in the 100-yard breast for the first time, Rockville Montgomery's Sarah Haase dominated the women's 100-meter breaststroke event with a 1:09.42. That swim edged her personal best of 1:09.45 from the Austin Grand Prix back in January. Lancaster's Emily Cameron placed second in 1:10.90, while Birmingham's Anne Lazor took third in 1:11.11. In other final heats, Davie Nadadores' Emily Kopas clocked a 1:10.88.
Blue Dolphins' Jason Coombs touched out Northern Kentucky Clipper's Maxwell Williamson, 1:05.19 to 1:05.32, in the men's 100-meter breaststroke. Coombs has been faster with a lifetime best 1:04.86 from last month, while Williamson crushed his lifetime best of 1:07.73 from last May. Aquajets' Van Donkersgoed placed third in 1:05.64. Jersey Wahoo Andrew Schuehler had the fastest time in finals with a 1:04.16 in the B final, while First Colony's Kyle Yu (1:05.13), City of Mobile's Marlin Brutkiewicz (1:05.45), Baylor's Christian Carbone (1:05.47), Rockville Montgomery's Austin Dickey (1:05.47) and Haden Calegan (1:05.75) all also clocked 1:05s.
Blue Tide's Jillian Vitarius clinched the women's 200-meter backstroke title in 2:12.69, pipping her personal best of 2:12.72 from the 2011 Winter National Championships in December. Verona's Sierra Kuhn placed second in 2:13.50, while Tara Halsted took third in 2:15.77. In other finales, Madison Hahn posted a 2:14.59.
Rockville Montgomery's Jack Conger cruised to victory in the men's 200-meter backstroke event with a 1:58.54, besting his personal record of 1:59.98 from the 2011 Senior National Championships last August. He also moved into the top 25 all time with the effort. City of Mobile's William Glass took second in 2:02.99, while Academy Bullets' Sean Lehane placed third in 2:03.25.
Nova of Virginia's Emma Nunn crushed her personal best with a 2:12.02 to win the women's 200-meter fly. Coming into tonight, her previous best had been a 2:13.72 from last July. Bootsma took a rare loss with a 2:14.67, which still stood as a personal best. Her previous top time had been a 2:15.30 from the 2009 Junior National Championships. Megan Rankin rounded out the podium with a third-place 2:15.48.
Curl Burke's Andrew Seliskar, 15, edged New Trier's Reed Malone, 16, 2:01.80 to 2:01.86, in the men's 200-meter fly. Aquazot's Corey Okubo finished third in 2:02.04.
Short Course Yard Prelims
Aquajets' Rachel Bootsma, the reigning Swimming World Co-High School Swimmer of the Year topped the women's 100 free with a 48.78, bettering her previous lifetime best of 48.99 from last year's NCSA Junior National meet. Bootsma really jumped onto the national radar at NCSA Juniors last year with a stunning time of 50.76 in the 100 back, which would have won the event at NCAAs a year ago, and would have placed second to future Golden Bear teammate Cindy Tran (50.31) this year. Janet Hu of Curl Burke (49.56) and All Stars' Caroline McTaggart (49.72) finished second and third.
Bootsma set another personal best with a 1:55.57 in the women's 200 fly. That time clipped her 1:55.95 also from last year's NCSA Juniors, and moved her to 46th in the all time rankings. Nova of Virginia's Emma Nunn finished second in 1:56.37, while Hu earned a second podium with a third-place 1:57.81.
Curl Burke's Andrew Seliskar,15, posted the top men's 100 breast time with a 55.46, just a second back of the 15-16 National Age Group record of 54.38 set by Cody Miller in 2008. Blue Tide's Jordan Jones took second in 55.54, while Davis Aquadarts' Matthew Whittle placed third in 55.68.
Seliskar doubled up in the morning with a win in the men's 200 fly by way of a 1:46.49, while Reed Malone of New Trier took second in 1:46.74. Aquazot's Corey Okubo placed third in 1:47.09.
Brent Murray of SwimAtlanta touched in 44.64 to win the men's 100 free, while New Trier's Jonathan Grodecki (44.70) and Malone (44.73) placed second and third.
Rockville Montgomery's Sarah Haase cracked 1:00 for the first time in the women's 100-yard breaststroke with a sterling time of 59.83. That performance jumped her to 32nd all time in the event's history, bettering her previous best of 1:00.05 from the Washington Metro Championships last month. She also became just the third swimmer 17-and-under to break 1:00. Kasey Carlson (58.75) and Megan Jendrick (59.80) are the only others to have done so at that age. Lancaster's Emily Cameron finished second in 1:01.68, while Birmingham's Anne Lazor touched third in 1:02.46.
Coast Guard's Amanda Carner touched out St. Croix's Mickayla Hinkle, 15, 1:56.76 to 1:56.93, for the top time in the women's 200 back. Blue Tide's Jillian Vitarius placed third in 1:57.51. Rockville Montgomery's Jack Conger, who lit up the Washington Metro Championships last month, cruised to the top time in the men's 200 back with a 1:42.37, nearly two seconds off his 17-18 National Age Group record of 1:40.41 set at Metros. Academy Bullets' Sean Lehane placed second in 1:44.96, while New Trier's Jack Mangan took third in 1:45.67.
In relay action, the New Trier foursome of Sam Skinner, Reed Malone, Jack Mangan and Max Grodecki took down the U.S. National Age Group record in the 17-18 division in the men's 800-yard freestyle relay with a 6:33.41. That swim downed the previous record of 6:34.84 set by SwimMAC in 2009. The same New Trier foursome downed the National High School record in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a 2:59.76 during prelims of the Illinois State High School Championships last month.