PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, February 20. ARTHUR Frayler provided the big headlines at last year's Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships. Who will take the spotlight at the 114th edition of this prestigious high school meet?
Frayler stirred emotions with his victory in the 500 freestyle with a 4:17.96 last year, breaking the meet record held by the late Fran Crippen, who had been Frayler's mentor before he passed away in 2010. With Frayler now a freshman at the University of Florida, we're anxious to see who will provide the most memorable moments.
That will likely be Germantown Academy senior Rachel Zilinskas, who is going for a different racing schedule this weekend at the Kirk Natatorium on the campus of La Salle University. The soon-to-be Georgia freshman won the 200 and 500 freestyles in 2012, but will replace the shorter freestyle with the 200 IM. That may be bad news for teammate Madison Visco, who finished second to senior Madeline Maher in the IM last year and was likely hoping for a victory as a sophomore.
Visco will also have her hands full in the 100 breast, another event in which she was runner up in 2012. Mercersburg Academy's Catherine Levins, fourth in last year's meet, is the top seed this year, dropping her seed time to 1:04.33.
In addition to Zilinskas in the 500 free, seven individual events have returning champions looking to defend their crowns:
Germantown's Alex Lebed, 200 IM
Penn Charter High School's Jamal Willis, 50 free
Baldwin's Val Yoshimura, 100 fly
Peddie School's Patrick Park, 100 fly
Germantown's Meagan Dollard, 100 free
Woodberry Forest's Zach Switzer, 100 back
Peddie's Forrest Davis, 100 breast
Switzer will be coming off a successful meet at the Virginia Independent High School State Championships, where he set meet records in the 200 IM (1:50.20) and 100 back (48.92). And in that 100 breaststroke, look out for Penn Charter freshman Reece Whitley, who broke national age group records in December at the Speedo Tom Dolan Invitational and became the youngest American to break the 1:00 barrier in the event.
Germantown will once again look to sweep the boys and girls team titles, though last year, the boys team barely defeated Peddie by 37 points and will likely have another close battle on their hands.
The Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships is one of the most pedigreed high school meets in the United States, boasting a roster of future Olympians in its list of past participants. Current meet record holders include Olympic medalists Gustavo Borges, Mel Stewart and Nelson Deibel, while Olympians Dave Wharton and Trina Radke also raced in this meet. This meet featured the first time a high school squad broke the 3:00 barrier in the 400 freestyle relay, though that time was later not ruled as a national high school record because The Bolles School swam it outside of their normal high school season.
Whatever headlines emerge from this year's event, you will be able to see it all unfold live, thanks to SwimmingWorld.TV. Morning Swim Show host Jeff Commings will provide race commentary during the live stream of the prelims and finals from Philadelphia. Prelims begin at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard time Friday and Saturday, with finals set for 6 p.m.
We will also bring you video interviews from some of the top swimmers and coaches at the meet. On-demand race footage from each prelim and final swim will be available on SwimmingWorld.TV, in case you miss anything during our live stream, or want to relive your favorite race!