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ORLANDO, Florida, March 21. FOUR national age group records by three amazing athletes highlighted the fourth night of competition at the NCSA short course junior nationals.
Andrew Seliskar of Nation’s Capital had likely the most exciting race for a national age group record tonight, recording a stunning 1:52.32 in the 200 breast to win the event. His time erased the 1:53.55 in the 17-18 age group set in 2011 by Kevin Cordes as a freshman at Arizona. Cordes would end up obliterating American records in the following years. That time by Seliskar would have qualified fourth in this year’s NCAA championships … and he’s only a high school junior. Finishing second in tonight’s race was teammate Carsten Vissering, who posted a lifetime best 1:55.44, while Shane McNamara of Empire Swimming was third with a 1:57.75, also a lifetime best.
Michael Andrew, the 14-year-old professional swimmer, broke two of his own marks tonight, starting with a 47.83 in the 100 backstroke. He lowered his 13-14 age group record from 48.10, which he did just a week ago. Andrew placed fourth in that race, behind the winning time of 46.47 by Luke Kaliszak of Baylor. Seliskar was second in that race with a 46.89, while Sam McHugh of Baylor was third in 47.78.
Andrew’s second record of the night came in the 100 butterfly, where he placed second behind Seliskar’s 46.50 with a 47.40. Gunnar Bentz of Dynamo Swim Club got third with a 47.56.
Cassidy Bayer, who took down a Mary T. Meagher national record in the 200 fly last December, added the 100 fly to her accomplishments, posting a 53.30 to place third. Her time beat out Elizabeth Nelson’s 53.36 set last year. Nelson placed second in tonight’s race, posting a lifetime best 52.29 at 15 years old, just missing Beata Nelson’s (no relation) 13-14 record of 52.06. Janet Hu swept the butterfly events this week, taking the 100 fly tonight in 52.00 after winning the 200 on Wednesday in a national age group record time and the 50 last night.
Kylie Stewart took the 100 backstroke gold medal using a strong final 25 yards, posting a personal best 51.96 to claim two backstroke races so far. She’s now the 24th-fastest American swimmer in the event. Elizabeth Nelson’s first silver medal of the night came in this 100 back, where she swam a lifetime best 52.03. Hu was right behind in third with a 52.20.
Sydney Lofquist of Mason Manta Rays took the race out hard in the opening 300 yards of the 500 freestyle, and held off a hard-charging Stewart to win with a 4:42.28 to Stewart’s 4:42.75. Swimming in lane eight, Paige Madden of City of Mobile was third with a 4:43.26.
Townley Haas won race number four, coming from behind to win the men’s 100 freestyle in 43.82. Haas had posted a 43.97 as a leadoff in yesterday’s 400 free relay for Nova of Virginia, so tonight he improved on his lifetime best. James Jones of Nation’s Capital got his first individual top-eight finish, taking second with a 43.97 while Justin Plaschka was third with a 44.11. Swimming in lane eight, Team Suffolk’s Plaschka took the race out hard, splitting a 20.88 at the 50-yard mark.
Riley Scott of Marin Pirates paced the field in the opening half of the women’s 200 breaststroke, then broke away to win by two seconds with a personal best 2:11.18. Meaghan O’Donnell, representing Cougar Aquatic Team, was second with a 2:13.12, while Katherine Drabot of Ozaukee took third with a 2:13.21.
In the sessions final event, the men’s 800 free relay, Seliskar and Haas waged war in the leadoff legs for Nation’s Capital and Nova of Virginia, respectively. With the title of overall fastest 200 freestyler of the meet on the line, Seliskar claimed that honor with a 1:35.17 to Haas’ 1:35.17. Haas did improve on the 1:35.26 he swam to win the individual 200 free. Nation’s Capital pulled away to easily win the race with a 6:31.84 to Nova’s 6:33.77. SwimAtlanta had some challengers, but held on for third with a 6:40.07.