Simone Manuel, Harrison Pierce Double On Night Three Of NASA Junior National Championship Cup

CLEARWATER, Florida, March 28. TIDE Swimming’s Harrison Pierce picked up his fourth and fifth individual titles of the meet, and Simone Manuel won the 50 fly and 100 back during the third night of racing at the NASA Junior National Championship Cup in Clearwater.

Sarasota’s Vien Nguyen, who is having a spectacular meet thus far with a couple of wins and very fast times, added another victory to her resume with a commanding win in the girls 17-18 400 IM. Nguyen posted a 4:08.88 for the victory, just a touch off her personal best of 4:08.21 but well in front of Tri-City Channel Cats’ Lisa Bratton, who picked up another podium finish in 4:13.37. Megan Brown from Greenwood Swimming touched third in 4:15.20. In the 16-and-under 400 IM, Marcella Ruppert-Gomez of Clearwater dominated the final, winning by eight seconds in 4:19.56 over Badger’s Natalie Eld (4:27.99). Caitlyn Wilson of Tigard Tualatin placed third in 4:29.03.

In the 17-18 boys 400 IM, Bend Swim Club’s Brandon Deckard, who already has multiple top-three finishes at the meet and a win in the 400 IM, earned his second individual victory in 3:52.69. He touched three seconds ahead of the Virginia Gators’ Michael Craddock, who turned in a time of 3:55.81. Filipe Medeiros of Santa Clara touched third in 3:56.66. In the 16-and-under division, multi-event winner Aiden Burns of Santa Clara earned himself another win in the fastest time of the entire day, a 3:48.60. Burns has been chasing a few National Age Group records this week, but couldn’t come close to the 15-16 NAG record in this event, a 3:42.08 held by Michael Phelps. Clearwater’s Grant Sanders finished second in 3:54.07, while Tristan Furnary of Multnomah Athletic Club rounded out the top three in 3:57.17.

First Colony Swim Team’s Simone Manuel topped the field in a quick 17-18 50 fly as she hit the wall in 24.35. Meredith Vay of Quest Swimming hung with Manuel for most of the race, finishing in 24.76. Hannah Bollinger of Ithaca Aquatics finished third in 25.33. Madeline Banic of Quest Swimming had the fastest 50 fly of the day in the 16-and-under event, breaking 24 with a solid 23.91. She finished comfortably ahead of Auburn’s Sarah Chambliss (24.49) and Belmont Aquatic Team’s Jessica Blake-West (24.83).

Tide Swimming’s Harrison Pierce, winner of the 17-18 50 back, 50 free and 100 fly already this meet, added another win with the top time in the 50 fly at 21.35. No one else broke 22 in the event, as Great Wolf’s Colter Allen (22.08) and Quest’s Joshua York (22.18) finished second and third. The 15-16 50 fly went down to the wire, with five swimmers finishing within three-tenths of each other. Phoenix Athletic Club’s Matthew Zugibe led the way in 22.66, less than a tenth ahead of Savannah Swim Team’s John Mataxas (22.74). Nicholas Loomis of Sarasota claimed third in 22.91.

Simone Manuel earned her second win of the night, this time in the 100 back. She hung on to defeat Tri-City Channel Cats’ Lisa Bratton in the final, 53.34 to 53.64. Megan Brown of Greenwood Swimming touched third in 55.61. Christina Paspalas of Phoenix Aquatic Club had the best time in the younger age division with a 54.02, not far ahead of Quest’s Madeline Banic (54.21). Sarah Chambliss of Auburn finished on the podium again with a 56.00 for third.

Harrison Pierce, who will attend Virginia Tech for college this fall, claimed his fifth individual title of the meet with a stellar 47.85 in the 100 back. Quest’s Joshua York (48.21) and Shawmut’s Shawn Nee (48.33) gave Harrison a quality race but couldn’t quite overtake him for the win. Indie Swimming’s Michael Andrew topped the 16-and-under field in 47.90, just missing his own National Age Group record of 47.83. Tristan Furnary of Multnomah claimed second in 48.80, while Phoenix Aquatic Club’s John Kilduff placed third in 49.87.

A couple of the top female swimmers at the meet went head to head in the 200 free, with Clearwater’s Alexandra Aitchison coming out on top in 1:46.52. Sarasota’s Vien Nguyen, who had a little while to rest after her 400 IM, came in second in 1:47.51, while Meredith Vay of Quest took third in 1:48.15. Badger’s Anina Lund almost broke 1:50 in the 16-and-under 200 free, topping the younger division in 1:50.23. Quest’s Kelsey Dambacher, the top qualifier after this morning, took second in 1:50.80, while La Mirada Armada’s Kiki Harvey wound up third in 1:51.65.

Harvey’s teammate at La Mirada, Ryan Kao, won the boys 17-18 200 free in 1:36.56, a little over a second in front of Quest’s Jeffrey Newkirk (1:37.79). Taylor Uselis of Clearwater also broke 1:40 with a 1:39.63. Santa Clara’s Aiden Burns topped the younger division with a 1:38.44, a touch in front of Clearwater’s Nazareno Boscaino (1:38.76) and Grant Sanders (1:39.19).

Old Dominion’s Susan Hynes topped the final individual event of the evening, winning the 17-18 50 breast in 29.05. Occoquan’s Amy Tansill finished right behind in 29.08, while Phoenix Aquatic Club’s Nicole Ciavarella also broke 30 with a 29.73 for third. Tansill’s younger sister, Mary, won the 16-and-under 50 breast in 29.71, ahead of Greenwood’s Samantha Du (29.94) and Sea Devils’ Emma Lezer (30.16).

In the final individual event on the boys’ side, Tide teammates Austin Temple and Mark Wilson finished 1-2, with Temple dominating the race in 24.61. Wilson finished over a second behind in 25.83 and only .01 in front of Academy Aquatic Club’s Austin Sellers (25.84). Tide made it a sweep of the boys 50 breaststroke as Daniel Arris topped the 16-and-under heat in 25.87. Thaddius Macon of the Marietta Marlins (26.55) and Griffin Back of Foxjet (26.91) took second and third.

Old Dominion’s Mary Bernadette Escobar (57.11), Susan Hynes (1:02.75), Logan Williams (55.73) and Chase Walker (51.50) won the girls 400 medley relay in 3:47.09, half a second in front of First Colony’s 3:47.64 and Quest’s 3:51.29. On the boys’ side, Tide’s foursome of Harrison Pierce (48.01), Austin Temple (53.26), Mark Wilson (50.00) and Austin Ryan (46.06) earned the win in 3:17.33. Old Dominion (3:24.33) and Virginia Gators (3:28.02) rounded out the top three.

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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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