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By David Rieder
IRVINE, California, August 7. ALTHOUGH Wednesday’s finals at Junior Nationals included only four individual finals, the athletes took advantage of the limited opportunities to continue to pile up the meet records, of which 13 have fallen at this meet so far, with two days of competition to go. Tonight, Townley Haas broke the previous record in the men’s 400 free, while Justin Lynch took down his second meet mark of the day in the men’s 100 fly.
Women’s 400 Free
Sarasota Y’s Danielle Valley trailed Marietta Marlins’ Stephanie Peters by almost one second at the halfway point of the women’s 400 free final, but Valley made quick work of Peters after that point. Valley, soon to begin her freshman year at the University of Florida, out-split Peters by more than a second and a half on the third 100 and pulled away to a winning time of 4:10.55. Clearwater’s Becca Mann, meanwhile, used a strong closing push to claim third, clocking 4:12.95. Mann had earlier beaten out Valley in the 800 free on Monday.
Sandpipers’ Erin Emery led throughout most of the race in the B-final, and she held off a strong charge from Courtney Harnish to win in 4:13.95, while York YMCA’s Harnish touched in 4:14.79. Swim Florida’s Kendall Brent, 14, picked up the win in the C-final in 4:17.79.
Men’s 400 Free
Nova of Virginia’s Townley Haas put up a statement swim in the men’s 400 free. Haas took a commanding lead over the early portions of the race, and although Aidan Burns closed the margin to a half-second on the third 100, Haas held strong and pulled away once again on the final 50. Haas touched in 3:51.99, good for a new meet record. That broke the 3:52.32 set by Nicholas Caldwell in 2010. Santa Clara Swim Club’s Burns came in second at 3:53.51, and Sarasota Y’s Alexander Katz closed strongly to take third in 3:53.78.
North Texas’ Jonathan Roberts posted the second-fastest swim of the day in the B-final, clocking 3:53.50, a time which would have edged Burns for runner-up honors in the championship heat. Swim Florida’s Logan Samuelson controlled the C-final on his way to victory, clocking 3:57.32.
Women’s 100 Fly
In a fast and exciting race, Mantas’ Danielle Nack took the race out hard but ended up fading on the second 50 as the 100 fly final became a four-woman race at the finish. In the end, Mission Viejo’s Katie McLaughlin got her hand on the wall just ahead of Tualatin Hills’ Michelle Cefal. McLaughlin touched in 59.07 to earn her second win of the week after setting a meet record in the 200 fly on Monday. Cefal, meanwhile, settled for a close second in 59.13.
Flint Y’s Courtney Weaver touched third in 59.34, just beating out Mack, who clocked 59.37 after splitting an extremely fast 27.16 at the 50 split. Meanwhile, Dynamo’s Nicole Stafford used a strong back half to edge 13 year old Cassidy Bayer in the consolation final. Stafford touched in 1:00.17, while Nation’s Capital’s Bayer finished in 1:00.30. Palo Alto’s Ally Howe picked up the win in the bonus final with a 1:00.94 clocking.
Men’s 100 Fly
After setting the meet record in prelims, Terrapins’ Justin Lynch lowered his own mark on the way to a Junior National title in the men’s 100 fly. Lynch touched in 52.91, lowering his mark of 53.05 from prelims. However, that still fell short of the 52.75 he clocked at U.S. Nationals in winning the consolation final at that meet. Lynch led the entire way and defeated the field by four tenths of a second.
A pair of Bolles teammates took second and third. Caeleb Dressel touched in 53.31, edging Santo Condorelli, who clocked 53.32. Condorelli briefly held the meet record in prelims, posting a 53.11 in heat 22 before Lynch posted his first mark of the day in heat 23. Meanwhile, Redlands’ Kyle Gornay dominated the B-final of the event, winning in 54.09. Schroeder Y’s Nicholas Petersen and Blue Devil’s Matthew Conway ended up tying for first in the C-final with both clocking swims of 54.97.
Men’s 800 Free Relay
Dynamo set a meet record in the men’s 800 free relay. Gunnar Bentz, already a two-time winner in Irvine, joined the Litherland brothers, Jay, Kevin, and Mick, to clock 7:30.87. That beat SwimMAC Carolina’s previous record of 7:32.14 from 2009. SwimAtlanta grabbed second in 7:34.27, and the Dayton Raiders took third in 7:34.50.