GREENSBORO, North Carolina, April 3. THE first evening of the YMCA Short Course Nationals being held in Greensboro featured a near sweep of the YMCA records on offer as swimmers in attendance brought their A games to North Carolina.
Middle Tyger's Katrina Konopka wound up in some heady territory as she blasted a time of 22.55 to win the women's 50-yard free. The 15-year-old took down the 2010 record of 22.67 set by current Arizona Wildcat and sprint free NCAA queen Margo Geer. After breaking the YMCA record her senior year, Geer went on to stunning success with the Wildcats, including a 50-100 sweep last month at NCAAs. UpperMainLine's Shannon Rauth finished second in 22.86, while North Canton's Chase Kinney checked in third with a 23.01.
Springfield's Ryan Held became the first sub-20 second YMCA swimmer with a winning time of 19.92 in the 50-yard free. That swim eclipsed the 20.19 clocked by Josh Fleagle last year. Pabst Farms' Ian Gordon also cleared the previous record with a second-place time of 20.16. Held, who is ranked by CollegeSwimming.com as the top recruit from Illinois in the Class of 2014, will definitely be drawing some major attention once his recruiting period begins. Triangle Area's Colin Ellington placed third in 20.21.
Sarasota's Bethany Leap crushed an 11-year-old YMCA record in the morning with a 2:11.85 in the women's 200-yard breast. That beat the previous mark of 2:12.47 from Amy Wheatley of Montgomery in 2002. Leap couldn't replicate the time as Lakeland Hills' Abby Fisher beat her to the wall, 2:12.16 to 2:12.25, in the finale. Springfield's Kendra Crew finished third in 2:12.74.
Marie Chamberlain of Cape Cod blasted a 53.56 in the women's 100-yard back finale. That swim downed the YMCA record of 53.73 set by Middle Tyger's Kendall Crawford in 2011. Countryside's Emily Slabe, who was seeded with a 53.74 coming into the meet, wound up second in 54.51 after posting a 54.27 in prelims. Kacey Oberlander of York touched third in 54.52.
Sarasota's Danielle Valley demolished the women's 1000-yard free YMCA record with a 9:27.19. The time crushed the previous record of 9:39.09 set by Sarasota alum Corrine Showalter back in 2007. Schroeder's Cassy Jernberg finished second in 9:44.98, while York 13-year-old Courtney Harnish picked up third in 9:49.83.
Wilton's Eric Ronda, a Harvard commitment this year, dominated the men's 200-yard breaststroke with a 1:56.91. Door County's Conner McHugh placed second in 1:59.00, while Somerset Valley's Zack Warner rounded out the top three in 2:00.10.
Andrew Appleby of Cuyahoga clocked a 48.68 to win the men's 100-yard back. Sam Lynch of Red Bank wound up second in 48.36 in what proved to be a close finish. Meanwhile, Nick Petersen of Schroeder checked in third in 48.62.
Sarasota's Alex Katz fell two seconds off Nick Caldwell's men's 1000-yard free YMCA record with a winning time of 8:57.80. York's Brandon Flynn placed second in 9:05.40, while Sarasota's Matt O'Donnell earned third in 9:14.61.
In relay action, six teams beat the women's 200-yard medley relay record of 1:43.49 set by Middle Tyger last year. York and York County's Kace Oberlander, Meghan Small, Niki Price and Victoria Griffin won in 1:42.27. Sarasota (1:42.54), Sunbury Branch (1:42.63), Somerset Valley (1:42.71), Middle Tyger (1:42.91) and Fanwood-Scotch Plains (1:43.13) all went faster than the standard.
Somerset Valley's Dylan Sali, Zack Warner, David Chung and Brad Zdroik blasted the men's 200-yard medley relay YMCA mark with a winning 1:29.86. That performance cleared the 1:30.91 set by Schroeder back in 2009. Red Bank Branch (1:31.88) and Wilton Family (1:32.70) took second and third.