By Josh Jeffrey
ORLANDO, April 7. THE National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) Junior National Championships got under way in sunny Orlando, Florida, this evening with outstanding swims in the women's 1650 freestyle, men's 1000 freestyle, and the men's and women's 800 freestyle relays.
Arizona Desert Fox took spots 1,2, and 4 in the women's 1650 as 18-year old Stephanie Anderson won going away in a Senior National qualifying time of 16:26.43, some 18+ seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer, 14 year-old teammate Emilie Gratton (16:45.57). Third place went to Nicole Weatherman of California's Beach Heatwave Swim Team in 16:51.73.
In the men's 1000, it was the Dayton Raiders who were best represented, seizing 1st, 3rd, and 5th place finishes. Running away with the win was 16-year old John Koehler, who touched at 9:06.61, six seconds ahead of 15 year-old Brooks Stovall of Memphis Tigers, touching for second (9:12.64) just narrowly ahead of Dayton Raider Jason Piercey (9:12.96). All three finishers were well under the Senior National qualifying time.
In the women's 800 freestyle relay, the top seven finishers all qualified for Senior Nationals. The ladies from Nova of Virginia's "A" squad took the win. Kelly Zahalka, Caitlin Anderson, Millie Campbell, and Elizabeth Shaw combined to record a time of 7:32.09, nearly 1.5 seconds ahead of the Bernal Gator "A" team (7:33.48), and Curl-Burke "A" (7:34.02)
In the men's 800 freestyle relay, Rockville-Montgomery's "A" squad of Kevin Mukri, Josh Hafkin, Chris Tappis, and Ryan McCabe won by 1.6 seconds over Fort Lauderdale's "A" squad, 6:51.62 to 6:53.23. Suburban Swim Center "A" was third in 6:54.18, all three teams meeting the Senior National standard.
Competition resumes tomorrow and continues through Friday.