Ryan Lochte, Kathleen Baker And Nora McCullagh Double At Charlotte Sectionals

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, March 14. RYAN Lochte swam two impressive races to win the men’s 100 fly and 200 free, while SwimMAC teammates Kathleen Baker (100 fly and 100 breast) and Nora McCullagh (200 free and 400 IM) also won two individual events during the second night of swimming in Charlotte. SwimMAC added another National Age Group relay record as they broke the girls’ 17-18 400 free relay record.

Finals of the women’s and men’s 200 free led off the second evening of action at the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center. SwimMAC Carolina’s Nora McCullagh, the top qualifier from this morning, lowered her prelim time by .08 for a winning time of 1:46.22, tying the sectional record set by SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker in 2013. Golden Isles’ Lauren Case took second in 1:47.35, followed by Rebecca Postoll, also of SwimMAC in 1:47.84.

Ryan Lochte appears to be well on the road to recovery after his performance in the 200 free. Lochte put up a 1:32.46, taking four seconds off his prelim time and shattering the sectional record set by second place finisher Dion Dreesens in prelims (1:36.02). Dreesens took second behind Lochte in finals with a 1:34.38, followed by Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh in 1:36.12.

In the women’s 100 breast, SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker destroyed the meet record and the field with the only sub-1:00 swim of the meet at 59.37. That lowered Melissa Klein’s 2002 sectional record of 1:01.20 and was more than two seconds ahead of her teammate, Caitlin Casazza (1:01.56). Elizabeth Roberts of Savannah Swim Team and Sara Stranick of SwimMAC Carolina tied for third with matching 1:02.39s.

Another sectional record fell in the men’s 100 breast, this time to Cardinal’s Carlos Almeida. Almeida, a former NCAA champion in the 200 breast at Louisville, slipped under the great Dave Denniston’s 2002 record of 53.96 with a 53.82. Almeida’s teammate, Todd Owen, took second in 54.35, followed by New South Swimming’s Rafa Van Leeuwaarde in 55.16.

Baker returned in the women’s 100 fly two events later and nearly set a second sectional record. Her time of 52.68 just missed Elaine Breeden’s 2006 record of 52.65, but was still well ahead of teammate Elsa Welshofer (53.50) and Golden Isles’ Lauren Case, who picked up another top-three swim in 53.65.

Lochte eared his second win of the meet with a dominating performance in the men’s 100 fly. After qualifying first by more than three seconds this morning, Lochte posted a 45.44 to destroy Matt Josa’s sectional record of 46.92, and the rest of the field. Atlanta Dolphins’ Mujahi El-Amin finished a distant second 48.48, followed by Bobby Bittner from the Gators in 49.28.

McCullagh went two-for-two in individual events with a 4:10.33 in the women’s 400 IM. She just missed the sectional record of 4:10.24, set by Mount Pleasant’s Megan Kingsley in prelims. Kingsley finished second in finals in 4:14.70, while North Carolina Aquatic Club’s Madison Homovich claimed third in 4:15.27.

Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, a multiple-time Olympic medalist in the IM events, proved to be the most dominant 400 IMer tonight with a 3:48.13 in the men’s 400 IM. His time just slipped under the previous sectional record of 3:48.61, set by Istvan Bathazi in 2003. Gators teammates Dalton Shaw (3:53.24) and Attila Kiraly (3:53.49) finished second and third in the event.

SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker (48.20), Rebecca Postoll (49.55), Heather Merritt (50.75) and Lauren Rhodes (50.05) lowered the 17-18 National Age Group record in the 400 free relay with a 3:18.55, lowering Mission Viejo’s 1981 record by exactly a second. SwimMAC’s B relay took second in 3:21.87, while Chattahoochee Gold finished third in 3:25.55.

In the men’s 400 free relay, SwimMAC’s Connor Long, Graham Weaver, John Poff and Cullen Jones took the win in 3:03.46. East Carolina (3:04.09) and North Carolina Aquatic Club (3:06.48) rounded out the top three.

Results For: Speedo Champions Series – Charlotte, Day Two

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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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