MINNEAPOLIS, July 30. THE welcome return of a few familiar faces and a slew of new Sectional records were the main highlights of the Speedo Champions Series Midwestern Sectional meet, held at the University of Minnesota pool this past weekend.
Lindsey Farella, former University of Arizona star and 90s National team mainstay, made a big return in winning the 100 (57.70) and 200 (2:05.93) freestyle events. Though neither time qualified for next year's Olympic Trials, her time in the 100 broke the Sectional record of 57.85 set by Kimberly Paradeise in 2001, and was a qualifying time for Summer Nationals.
Another National team vet getting back into the swim of things is 32 year-old Trina Radke, who ranks 10th on the US all-time list in the 200 butterfly with her best time of 2:10.55 from 1990. At this meet, she had her best showings in the 100 free, finishing second behind Farella (58.12), and third in the 100 fly (1:02.93).
Youth proved to win over experience this time, as the majority of swimmers to notch Trials times on the women's side were under the age of 17. The lone exception was Keri Hehn, a former University of Minnesota star who cruised to a sweet 1:11.54 in the 100 breaststroke, shattering her own sectional record (1:12.52) set in 2002 by two hundredths shy of a full second. Aided along by the fast pace was 15 year-old Jensen Ohlgren, who also swam under the previous record with a Trials standard of 1:12.36.
In the women's 100 backstroke, Naperville 14 year-old Melissa Marik set a new Sectional record of 1:04.51, breaking the record she had set in preliminaries (1:04.75), and inching under the Olympic Trials standard by nine-hundredths of a second.
Seventeen year-old Jennifer Gelden took a win in the women's 100 fly in a Sectional record time of 1:02.37, swimming under the previous mark of 1:02.53 set last year by Foxjet's Katie Braun, who finished fifth in this race. The time also garnered Gelden a ticket to Long Beach next July, ekeing out a Trials standard by two-hundredths.
Wildcat Aquatics' Katie Paglini became a double winner, taking the 200 back (2:19.23) and 200 IM (2:22.04), as did Wisconsin distance ace Carly Piper in taking the 400 (4:23.21) and 1500 (17.01.70) freestyles.
On the men's side, the story of the meet was quadruple-winner Matt Grevers of Lake Forest, Swimming World's Male High School Swimmer of the Year for 2003. For starters, Grevers notched a Trials cut in taking the 100 free (51.00), narrowly wining over Terry Silkaitis and NAG butterfly star Kyle Bubolz, who tied for second in a Trials time of 51.07. He made sure his next race wasn't anywhere near that close. In the 100 back, Grevers stroked to a swift 56.43, more than a second ahead of Tony Swanson (57.77). Both swimmers' times qualified for the Olympic Trials. Grevers made it three when he took a win in the 200 backstroke (2:05.89).
Wisconsin's Kyle Bubolz tied for the second time of the meet when he and Grevers both touched in an identical 23.37 to win a fast 50 free, two hundredths ahead of Terry Silkaitis (23.39), all three men qualifying for Trials. Bubolz took a win of his own with a speedy Trials cut of 54.73 in the 100 butterfly, nearly a second ahead of the next finisher, and good enough to break his own Sectional record (54.77) set in prelims.
The meet's only other double winner was breaststroke specialist Nathan Bernier of Minnesota, who swam to wins in both distances, taking the 100 in 1:05.12, and the 200 in 2:21.95.
Full results can be found at: Results