COLUMBIA, Missouri, July 16. THE University of Missouri jumped out to a huge lead during the first night of finals at the Region VIII Summer Sectionals, held at their home pool, the Mizzou Aquatic Center. Thanks to several top three finishes tonight, Missouri leads the team standings with 216 points, well ahead of Rockwood’s 92 points and Missouri State’s 85.
Lauren Votava of Rockwood Swim Club kicked off the first night of finals with a win in the women’s 100 free. Votava touched first in 56.23, four-tenths ahead of Missouri’s Anna Patterson, who came in at 56.63. Madeline Monroe, who is competing unattached out of Arkansas, placed third in 56.87. The final of the men’s 100 free turned out to be a nail-biter, as the race came down to the touch. Greater Omaha’s Jacob Molacek bested the field in 51.40, only .01 ahead of Missouri State’s Paul Le (51.41). Molacek’s teammate, Ryan Miksch, finished right behind in 51.47.
In the women’s 200 breast, Springfield Aquatics’ Bailee Nunn topped the heat in 2:32.85, not far ahead of Missouri’s Abigail Duncan, who touched in 2:33.59. Greater Omaha picked up another podium finish as Lauren Pavel finished third in 2:36.11. The University of Missouri went 1-2 in the men’s 200 breast, led by Igor Kozlovskij in 2:15.30. Teammate Sam Tierney posted a 2:16.12 for second, as the two swimmers finished well ahead of third place finisher Uldis Tazans of Missouri State (2:20.01).
Hannah Stevens of the University of Missouri proved to be the best women’s 200 backstroker tonight with a top time of 2:13.18. Yulduz Kuchkarova of Kansas Aquatics took second in the final in 2:15.03, just ahead of Arkansas’ Lauren Jordan (2:15.25). Paul Le of Missouri State returned two events later to win the men’s 200 back after just finishing second in the 100 free. Le touched in 2:02.23 to easily defeat Kansas City Blazers’ Louis Behnen (2:05.11) and the University of Missouri’s Dillon Love (2:07.02).
Finals of the women’s and men’s 800 free were contested this morning. Taylor Pike of Razorback Aquatic Club topped the women’s field in 8:54.67, slightly ahead of Club Huskers’ Katarina Sickle (8:55.08) and Saluki Swim Club’s Kelsie Walker (8:55.66). Minki Kang of the Arkansas Dolphins won the men’s event by a solid margin, out-lasting the competition with an 8:12.95. Ryan Baker of Rec Plex finished almost 17 seconds behind in 8:29.08, while Rockwood’s Nicholas Davis rounded out the top three in 8:30.15.