Speedo Junior Nationals: Day Four Prelims Recap

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By David Rieder

IRVINE, California, August 8. THE meet record book remained as it stood before day four prelims began and after it concluded, a rare breather after 11 records had already gone down this week. Three swimmers qualified for two finals apiece in the six preliminary events contested on Thursday morning.

Women’s 200 Free
Longhorn’s Quinn Carrozza qualified first in the prelims of the women’s 200 free, and she will enter the final as a big favorite to take the title. The 16 year old clocked a time of 1:59.85, well ahead of Dynamo’s Nicole Stafford, who finished second in 2:00.51. However, Carrozza has a 1:58.36 to her credit from earlier this summer, and she could challenge Lia Neal’s meet record of 1:58.26. Ozaukee’s Katherine Drabot qualified third in 2:00.92.

Mission Viejo’s Katie McLaughlin has already won two events this week, including the 100 and 200 fly, and she qualified fourth in 2:01.34. Two more winners from this meet, Dynamo’s Kylie Stewart (2:01.40) and Socal’s Ella Eastin (2:02.63) made it into another top heat, while Woodlands’ Kelsey Vetalice (2:02.81) and Loveland’s Eryn Eddy (2:02.83) will swim in the outside lanes tonight. City of Mobile’s Paige Madden and Sara Shimomura tied for 16th in 2:03.38, but a scratch enabled the two to avoid a swim-off.

Men’s 200 Free
Sarasota Y’s Alexander Katz seeks his second win of the meet in the final of the men’s 200 free after qualifying first in 1:50.51. Katz previously set a pair of meet records in winning the men’s 200 back. He won’t have it easy in finals, though, with the top four swimmers qualifying within a half second. Duneland’s Blake Pieroni finished a close second in 1:50.69, while Asphalt Green’s Michael Domagala (1:50.88) and Pro Swimming’s Trevor Carroll (1:50.95).

Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz already has wins in the 400 IM and 200 breast, and he has set meet records in both of those events. He qualified fifth in 1:51.10, while Nova of Virginia’s Townley Haas hopes to back up with his win in Wednesday’s 400 free with a strong performance in the 200, recording the sixth-best time of 1:51.29. Crimson’s Liam Egan (1:51.52) and Dayton Raiders’ Brock Turner (1:51.67) have also earned spots in tonight’s final.

Women’s 100 Breast
South Bend’s Bethany Galat cruised to the top seed in the women’s 100 breast. She clocked 1:09.00, and she hopes to win her first title of the week in her first final. She previously won the consolation final in the 200 breast in Monday. SwimMAC’s Maija Roses qualified second in 1:10.29, as she looks to complete the breaststroke sweep. Emily Kopas edged Aquajets’ Olivia Anderson for the third spot, 1:10.42 to 1:10.48.

Lakeside’s Kennedy Lohman (1:10.57), Weymouth’s Colleen O’Neil (1:10.88), Newburgh Sea Creatures’ Lillia King (1:10.99), and Central Iowa Aquatics’ Katharine Ross (1:11.27) earned the rest of the transfer spots into the championship final. Meanwhile, King Aquatic Club’s Carolyn McCann and Condors’ Carly Cummings tied for 17th in 1:12.29, but a scratch necessitated a swim-off to determine the final spot in the B-final. McCann blasted a 1:10.66 to take the swim-off, while Cummings clocked 1:12.69.

Men’s 100 Breast
Nation’s Capital’s Casten Vissering beat out Dynamo’s Gunnar Bentz by a quarter-second to earn the top seed in the men’s 100 breast. Vissering qualified in 1:02.49, while Bentz came in at 1:02.75 as he, like Maija Roses in the women’s event, looks to complete the breaststroke sweep. Greater Omaha’s Jacob Molacek rounded out the sub-1:03 performances with a third-place 1:02.92. Jersey Wahoos’ Andrew Schuehler (1:03.24), Pleasanton Seahawks’ Nicholas Silverthorn (1:03.36), Hudson Explorers’ Ross Palazzo (1:03.44), Nation’s Capital’s Andrew Seliskar (1:03.60), and Clovis’ Connor Hoppe (1:03.89) will also compete for the title in the A-final.

Women’s 100 Back
The final of the women’s 100 back shapes up as another competitive final after just over a second separated the top eight in prelims. AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy picked up the top qualifying spot in 1:01.61, just ahead of King Aquatic Club’s Hannah Weiss, who touched in 1:01.68. Smiddy finished as the runner up behind Dynamo’s Kylie Stewart in the 200 back earlier in the meet. SwimMAC Carolina’s Kathleen Baker qualified third with a time of 1:01.81.

Socal’s Ella Eastin and Dynamo’s Stewart each made their way into their second final of the night. Eastin touched in 1:02.18, while Stewart put up a 1:02.25. Irvine Novaquatics’ Courtney Mykkanen (1:02.40), Tri-city Channel’s Lisa Bratton (1:02.63), and Crow Canyon’s Madison White (1:02.75) all made it into the final heat tonight.

Men’s 100 Back
Greenwood Memorial’s Ryan Harty led the way through prelims with a 55.82. He beat out the field by more than a half second, as Bluefish’s Connor Green came in second at 56.37. Green already finished second in the 200 back on Tuesday. Denver Swim Association’s Hennessey Stuart came in third at 56.64, while Badger’s Patrick Conaton edged Hudson Explorer’s James Dagley for fourth, 57.20 to 57.22.

Roadrunner’s Brock Bonetti (57.24), Carpet Capital’s Ethan Young, and Dayton Raiders’ Henrik Pohlmann (57.30) all earned championship final berths. Meanwhile, three swimmers tied for 25th in 58.18, setting up a swim-off to determine the alternate positions. Curtis Klein, Island’s Michael Andrew, and Eagle Swim Association’s Steven Richardson will battle for those two spots.

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