Photo by Kristin Karkoska
Editorial coverage for U.S. Junior Nationals proudly sponsored by Q Swimwear!
IRVINE, California, August 3. QUALIFYING is in the books at the USA Swimming Juniors Nationals with just one more night of finals left.
- Women’s 200 IM
- Men’s 200 IM
- Women’s 50 free
- Men’s 50 free
- Women’s 1500 free
- Men’s 800 free
Women’s 200 IM
When you match a national level backstroke along with a Trials level breaststroke, you have a good chance of putting together a pretty strong IM. That’s exactly what has happened with Central Bucks’ Allie Szekely. The kid that became known for her breaststroke prowess during the 2012 Olympic Trials, topped the 200 backstroke earlier this week to turn heads. This morning, she broke a two-year plateau in the IM with a 2:15.80 for the top seed. That lowered her 2:15.98 best from the 2012 junior nationals.
Liz Zeiger, swimming unattached, led a trio of swimmers to put up 2:17s in qualifying. She clocked a 2:17.66 to break 2:18 for the first time, while JCC’s Lauren Barber (2:17.76) and Bellevue’s Kim Williams (2:17.80) rounded out the top four qualifiers with 2:17s.
Iowa Flyers’ Ruby Martin (2:18.13), Lakeside’s Leah Stevens (2:18.52), NBAC’s Heidi Miller (2:18.53) and Livonia’s Miranda Tucker (2:18.83) comprised the rest of the championship heat. Notably, SwimMAC’s Maija Roses has a scorching swim out of heat 4 of 16 with a 2:19.20 to qualify ninth. It’s been awhile since she hit the 2:19 mark as her lifetime best is a 2:19.07 from 2011 Nationals.
Men’s 200 IM
PASA’s Curtis Ogren had a breakthrough swim in the 200 IM this morning, clearing the 2:03 mark for the first time with a 2:02.64 to lead qualifying. That’s better than his 2:03.45 lifetime best from last summer’s junior nationals. CyFair’s Austin Van Overdam snagged the second seed with a time of 2:03.89. That is a massive personal best for Van Overdam, beating the 2:06.88 from juniors a year ago.
Meanwhile, fresh off his first junior national title last night when he won the men’s 100-meter back, 15-year-old pro Michael Andrew qualified third in 2:04.44. That’s just off his personal best of 2:04.13 set at the Orlando stop of the Arena Grand Prix.
Cascade’s Abrahm Devin (2:04.49), Alex Lebed (2:04.80), Crimson’s Anthony Marcantonio (2:04.85), Rockwall’s Jared Butler (2:05.04) and Tualatin’s Patrick Mulcare (2:05.14) also made the championship finale.
Women’s 50 free
The women’s splash-and-dash certainly had a bit of a void with high school sprint queen Abbey Weitzeil of Canyons sitting it out after time trialing her way to a 17-18 national age group record-tying 25.00 yesterday. That 25.00 also made her the third-fastest American this year behind Madison Kennedy (24.78) and Natalie Coughlin (24.97). It also tied her for 20th in the world rankings.
Carmel’s Amy Bilquist provided the fastest time of the day with a 25.49. She has a bit more time to cut before lowering her 25.32 personal best from the Santa Clara stop of the Arena Grand Prix. Lakeside’s Lauren Pitzer finished second in 25.73, while Y-Sparta’s Katrina Konopka touched third in 25.89.
Bolles’ Kasey Schmidt, Carmel’s Veronica Burchill and Roadrunner’s Stanzi Moseley tied for fourth overall with 25.99s. Natalie Labonge (26.04) and City of Mobile’s Ashton Ellzey (26.05) claimed the other transfer spots into the A final.
Men’s 50 free
Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel, who has some bigger fish to fry next week at nationals, decided to get in a bit of a warm-up on the final day of juniors by swimming in the 50-meter freestyle. He blasted the field with a 22.62 this morning, visibly shutting it down the last 15 meters of the swim. That’s not far off his best off 22.22 from last summer’s World Juniors. He will likely be targeting not only a personal best, but also Vlad Morozov’s meet record of 22.13 from 2010 during tonight’s finale.
NCAP’s James Jones and Tennessee’s Josh Romany tied for second with 23.21s out of heat 16 of 17. Lucky for them, the tying times were fast enough not to worry about a swimoff. Peddie’s Patrick Park checked in with a fourth-place time of 23.22.
Canyons’ Cole Cogswell and Nitro’s Tate Jackson provided the other top 8 tie with 23.26s for fifth, while Marlins of Raleigh’s Scott Johnson snared seventh in 23.29. Cogswell’s swim actually broke a team record previously held by Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin. IUST’s Blake Pieroni also made the finale with an eighth-place 23.31. Indiana’s hiring of sprint guru Dennis Dale could provide huge dividends with someone like Pieroni on the roster to mold into a championship-level sprinter. Notably, Ohio State’s Matt McHugh and Indie’s Michael Andrew tied for ninth with 23.34s.
Women’s 1500 free/Men’s 800 Free
Egg Harbor’s Amanda Nunan put up the time to beat from this afternoon’s slower-seeded heats as she charged to a 16:36.77. That’s a huge time drop, which is the standard during the distance freestyle events each year. She smashed the 16:52.85 she set at the Charlotte stop of the Arena Grand Prix. Last summer was the first time she broke 17:00 with a 16:59 at juniors. She dropped almost half-a-minute since then. Nashville’s Elizabeth Stinson had a plateau-breaking swim as well with a 16:38.21. Her previous best had been a 16:53.77 from way back in 2011. It should be interesting to see if those times hold up to make the podium.
The big question out of the slower-seeded heats for the men’s 800 free is whether Parkland’s Sam Magnan can capture another junior title from the early heats like he did in the 1500 free on day one. This afternoon, he raced to an 8:06.04, smashing his previous best time of 8:20.87 from last month. Last year, he clocked an 8:25.88 here at juniors, so the time drop is pretty striking. Marlins of Raleigh’s Adam Linker also had a big time drop with an 8:09.72. A year ago at his senior states, he clocked a lifetime best of 8:21.62. Both times should be podium-worthy tonight.