Townley Haas Looking For Fourth Title, Several Others On Quest For First Win at NCSA Juniors

ORLANDO, Florida, March 21. ANDREW Seliskar came late to the party at the 2014 NCSA short course junior nationals, racing only in the final two days of the meet. But he’s making it count with two top-seeded efforts this morning in the 200 breast and 100 fly, and a runner-up time in the 100 back.

Seliskar, representing Nation’s Capital, qualified first in the 200 breast with a personal best 1:54.32, beating his best by a half second. He’ll need a bigger drop tonight to take down Kevin Cordes’ national age group record in the 17-18 group, which stands at 1:53.55. Seliskar was the class of the field in prelims, beating second qualifier Shane McNamara of Empire Swimming by four seconds. McNamara posted a lifetime best 1:58.21, while 100 breast winner Carsten Vissering of Nation’s Capital qualified third with a 1:58.39.

Seliskar returned in the 100 fly with a top-seeded time of 47.06, posting another lifetime best by seven tenths of a second. He’ll have a little more competition in this event, with 14-year-old pro swimmer Michael Andrew hot on his heels with a 47.66 for the second seed. Andrew will be chasing his national age group mark of 47.47 in tonight’s finals. Gunnar Bentz of Dynamo Swim Club took the third spot in prelims with a 47.99.

Baylor’s Luke Kaliszak managed to post the fastest time of the morning in the men’s 100 back with a personal best 46.93, his first time under 47 seconds. Seliskar nearly cracked 47 as well with a personal best 47.09, while Andrew qualified third in 48.27, just off his national age group mark of 48.10.

In the other men’s event of the day, Tristan Sanders of Palm Harbor YMCA will be looking to add another title to his 200 back win from Wednesday. He swam a 44.21 to lead qualifiers to lower his lifetime best by a half second. James Jones of Nation’s Capital, who was a key leg in his team’s 400 free relay victory last night, was the second-fastest qualifier with a 44.50, dropping his personal best by three tenths. Townley Haas has already won the 200, 500 and 1000 freestyles this week, and will be looking for an unprecedented winning streak after qualifying third with a 44.57. After a 43.97 to lead off Nova of Virginia’s relay last night, Haas looks to be the favorite for a fourth win tonight.

On the women’s side, several swimmers will be looking to grab their first victories of the meet. Elizabeth Nelson will try to hold off Nation’s Capital’s Janet Hu in the 100 backstroke. Nelson posted a 2.94 in prelims to Hu’s 52.95. It was a drop of two tenths off Nelson’s lifetime best, while Hu has a 52.35 to her credit. Zoe Avestruz will be looking to continue the Aquajets legacy of backstrokers that began with Rachel Bootsma, qualifying third with a 53.15. Her lifetime best is 52.09, so she could find herself at the top of the award podium tonight.

Nelson and Hu will battle again in the 100 butterfly, where Hu is the top qualifier with a 52.72 in prelims. Nelson swam a 53.49 for the second spot, tying with Saint Andrew’s Megan Moroney. Also under 54 seconds in prelims was Paige Maynard (53.93) and Cassidy Bayer (53.99).

Sydney Lofquist will be looking to earn her first win after qualifying first in the 500 free with a 4:46.16, just ahead of the 4:46.73 posted by Barrington’s Kirsten Jacobsen and the 4:46.87 by Nation’s Capital’s Megan Byrnes. Isabella Rongione, the co-champion in the 1000 free, qualified fourth with a 4:47.21.

After placing second in the 100 breaststroke, Riley Scott of Marin Pirates is looking for a win in the 200, posting a 2:12.19 that tied her lifetime best to lead qualifiers. Pauline Kaminski of Academy Bullets makes her first championship final of the meet with a 2:14.74 that is just five tenths slower than her best time. Katherine Drabot, the winner of last night’s 400 IM who used a strong breaststroke to take that title, qualified third with a 2:14.87. She’s got a 2:11.07 as a lifetime best.

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the host of several shows on SwimmingWorld.TV, including "The Morning Swim Show," which features interviews with people making headlines in aquatic sports. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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