North American Challenge Cup: Canada Continues Strong Meet

By David Rieder

SANTA CLARA, California, August 7. CANADIAN swimmers won a majority of events at the North American Challenge Cup last night, the second of three nights of competition in long course meters. Notably, Canada's Tasha Truscott has won the most races of any 15 & over swimmer, with her third win of the meet last night.

Truscott won the 15-16 girls' 100 free in 58.16, while Pacific Northwest's Joanna Wu (58.80) and Southern California's Kate Santilena (59.52) also broke 1:00 to round out the top three. Canadian Bryan Wray defeated Mexico's Rod Aguilar Martinez in the 15-16 boys' 100 free, 53.35 and 53.70. Meanwhile, Pacific's Robert Ashby and Southern California's Fred Abramyan tied for third, both clocking 53.95. Canada's Sarah Sumner dominated the 17-18 girls' 100 free, winning in 57.59, pulling away from Mexico's Alma Lopez Morales, who took second in 59.85, and Southern California's Heidi Zeigler, third in 1:00.90. Mexico's Daniel Ramirez Carranza broke the Canadian streak with a 17-18 boys' 100 free win in 52.27, with Southern California's Alex Campbell (53.77) and Zach Fedak (54.09) completing the podium finishers.

Southern California went 1-2 in the 15-16 girls' 200 back. Sammie Keehn dominated in 2:21.50, winning by more than three seconds over teammate Valerie Orellana (2:24.56) and Pacific's Lexy Troup (2:25.33). Canada's Joe Byram took an easy win in the 15-16 boys' 200 back in 2:07.62, while Aguilar Martinez touched out Canada's Mack Darragh for third, 2:10.32 to 2:10.34. Canada's Jessica Plant clocked 2:17.31 to win the 17-18 girls' race by more than eight seconds, with Southern California's Karen Hendrick (2:25.56) and Canada's Nicki Fyfe (2:27.93) completing the top three. Southern California's Garrett Hubbard took the win in the 17-18 boys' 200 back in 2:10.21, about sixth tenths ahead of Pacific's Connor Stuewe (2:10.80), with Mexico's Juan Del Pino Salas finishing third (2:11.86).

Southern California's Michaela Merlihan cruised in the 15-16 girls' 400 free, winning in 4:22.94, while Canada's Tyra Rooney (4:27.83) and Pacific Northwest's Hannah Taylor (4:32.22) completed the top three. Canada's Brayden Salmon won the 15-16 boys' race in 4:01.66. Meanwhile, Byram charged past Mexico's Andres Olvera Alejos on the final lap to claim second, 4:05.66 to 4:05.91. Mexico went 1-2 in the women's 400 free, with Fernanda Armenta Gaston winning in 4:28.08 and Alma Lopez Morales claiming second in 4:32.22, while Zeigler ended up third in 4:35.22. Canada countered with a 1-2 finish in the 17-18 boys' 400 free. Austin Rockett won in 4:03.96, with Franco Petrone second in 4:04.60. Del Pino Salas returned to finish third in 4:08.24.

Pacific Northwest's Jennifer Domanowski ended up victorious in the 15-16 girls' 200 fly in a time of 2:16.41. Mexico's Melisa Mexia Okamura took second in 2:18.99, almost three seconds ahead of Pacific's Michi Aisawa (2:21.79). Darragh and Salmon went 1-2 for Canada in 15-16 boys' 200 fly, with respective times of 2:05.90 and 2:06.64. Pacific's Sam Haley ended up third in 2:08.13. Canada's Daniela Szalkai touched out teammate Shannon Nell for the win in the 17-18 girls' 200 fly, 2:22.56 to 2:22.60. The two finished well clear of Southern California's Michelle Dockendorf (2:24.40). Mexico's Luis Soto Ramirez took the 17-18 boys' race in 2:04.48, well ahead of teammate Daniel Ramirez Carranza (2:06.77) and Rockett (2:08.19).

Teams from Canada swept all four 15 & over 800 free relays. Truscott, Rooney, Mariya Chekanovych, and Emily Doucette won the 15-16 girls' relay in 8:34.23, while Byran, Darragh, Wray, and Salmon claimed the 15-16 boys' relay in 7:49.63. Canada's Plant, Szalkai, Fyfe, and Sumner finished first in the 17-18 girls' relay in 8:41.21, before the squad of Fedak, Petrone, Rockett, and Jeremie Holdom rounded out the middle night of competition with a 7:53.77 decision in the 17-18 boys' relay.

With one day of swimming remaining, Canada held a commanding lead on Southern California, 1229.5 points to 1065.5 points. Pacific Swimming (944.5), Mexico (752.5), and Pacific Northwest (500) are also competing.

Swimming World high school intern David "The Swim Geek" Rieder is a high school swimmer in Charleston, S.C. He swims for the Southern Marlins Racing Team and often negative splits his races. He can be found on the web at swimdr549.blogspot.com and twitter.com/david2swim.

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