US Zone Champs: Greg Pelton Sets National Age Group Record at Eastern Zones

By Josh Jeffrey

PITTSBURGH, August 21. THE Eastern Zone Championships were held at the University of Pittsburgh August 6-9th and featured some excellent performances, and a handful of new Zone records, US Open standards, and a new national age group record

Metropolitan swimming's Kelly Bunster was tops for the girls, winning the 100m free (1:01.61), 100 fly (1:05.73), 50 fly (29.75) and 200 fly (2:31.11). Her time in the 100 fly was also a new Zone record. Bunster wasn't the only one burning up the pool. Maryland's Sam Gelb won three events, taking the 100 (1:14.90) and 200 breast (2:40.07) and 200 IM (2:26.77). Both breaststroke marks were good enough to qualify for the US Open, as well as setting new meet records. Most remarkably, her time in the 200 breaststroke was only just over a tenth of a second off her own NAG record (2:39.92).

As impressive as the girls' performances were, it was Greg Pelton of Connecticut who stole the show in this age group. Pelton took four titles, seizing wins in the 100 free (56.97) and 50 fly (28.30), both of which were meet records, as well as the 50 back (30.28). Pelton would save the best for last. Earlier in the year, he had tied the 11-12 NAG standard of 25.63 in the 50 free, held by Florida's Alex Forbes since 2000. In his last individual race of the meet, he made the record his own, touching in 25.51 to slice .12 off Forbes' and his own standard.

Taking the ironman title in this division with a stellar five wins was Virginia's Tom Sheranek, who notched golds in the 200 back (2:17.87), 200 free (2:09.84), 100 back (1:05.78), 400 free (4:27.50), and 200 IM (2:23.13), the latter of which broke a meet record held by none other than current world record-holder Michael Phelps. Sheranek also joined Stuart Ferguson, Mason Wilcox and Matthew Baumler of the Virginia team to new meet records in the 200 (2:00.67) and 400 medley relay (4:25.64) Not bad for a few days' work.

Potomac Valley's Lauren Ritter took three golds, winning the 200 free (2:09.07), 200 back (2:24.61) and 400 free (4:29.11). Morgan Hammond of Maryland also took a trio of wins, topping the leaderboard in the 400 IM (5:12.23), 200 breast (2:45.61), and 200 IM (2:29.89).

Middle Atlantic's Sarah Czar was just that in the sprint events, taking the 50 (27.23) and 100 (59.53) freestyles. The 50 time was also a US Open standard, the only one in the ladies' 13-14 division. Czar also joined with Jacy Dyer, Shiloh Page, and Debbi LaRue to crush the meet record in the 200 free relay, clocking a 1:50.15 to the former mark of 1:51.72 set by Virginia last year.

Cody Weik of Middle Atlantic was the big winner for the boys, swimming to four individual titles, touching first in the 800 free (8:42.30), 200 free (1:56.67), 400 free (4:11.01), and 200 IM (2:12.94). His times in the 200 and 400 free both set new Zone records.

Another recordbreaker was New Jersey's Brian Wilson, winner of the 50 free (25.41), 100 free (54.95), and 100 fly (57.84), the latter of which was a new Zone record. Potomac Valley's Phillip Hinrichsen took the toughest triple, winning the 200 fly (2:12.50), 400 IM (4:42.98), and 1500 free (17.07.86).

Virginia's David Wren set a meet record in the 200 back (2:13.68), in addition to assisting his state's team of Jordan Arencibia, Ian Vogt, and Gaites Brown to a new Zone record in the 400 medley relay (4:09.92)

15 year-olds Leigh Psaris of Potomac Valley and Metropolitan's Daphne Skelos won the majority of girls' titles, Psaris taking the 50 (27.86), 100 (59.78), 200 (2:09.34), and 400 (4:32.77) freestyles, while Skelos took the 100 (1:09.06) and 200 (2:25.93) back, and 400 IM (5:08.01). The only Zone record broken here was by the Potomac Valley quartet of Psaris, E.B. Kuhn, Allie Smith, and Emily Kelly in the 400 free relay, with a winning time of 4:03.91.

No Zone records were broken for the men. Metropolitan's Ryan Emanual took the 100 free (55.19) and 100 back (1:02.16), while Metro teammate Robert Seery won the 200 (1:59.57) 400 (4:12.98), and 800 (8:40.05) frees.

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