By David Rieder
ATHENS, Georgia, July 16. THE USA Swimming Sectionals meet in Athens continued with members of the U.S. National Team posting strong swims. The SwimMAC Carolina Elite Team made a major mark in tonight's finals, having just arrived in Athens yesterday.
SwimMAC's Tim Phillips led the way with a fast swim in the men's 100 fly. Phillips, a member of the U.S. team headed to the World University Games, clocked 52.82 to move just ahead of Takeshi Matsuda (52.83) and behind Chris Brady (52.77) as the 18th-fastest swimmer in the world this year. Phillips also claimed the third spot among Americans, behind Michael Phelps (51.32) and Brady. Phillips' teammates completed the SwimMAC sweep, as Eugene Godsoe took second in 53.20, and Davis Tarwater grabbed third in 53.24.
SwimMAC's Micah Lawrence posted a strong time of 1:08.47 to win the women's 100 breast. Lawrence is another member of the World University Games team and moved to 29th in the world with this swim. Lawrence also became the fifth-fastest American in the event this year, trailing Rebecca Soni (1:05.57), Jessica Hardy (1:05.90), Annie Chandler (1:07.81), and Amanda Beard (1:08.46). Meanwhile, Auburn's Lauren Norberg finished second in 1:09.12, while Athens Bulldogs' Sara Nicponski rounded out the top three and sub-1:10 swims with a 1:09.96.
Auburn's Adam Klein dominated the field in the men's 100 breast with a 1:02.86 winning time. Klein, yet another swimmer headed to Shenzhen, China for the World University Games next month, defeated Cardinal's Kameron Chastain, who ended up second in 1:03.44. SwimMAC's Kevin Swander came in third at 1:03.64, while Auburn's Stuart Ferguson rounded out the sub-1:04 swims with a fourth-place time of 1:03.90. Meanwhile, Rays' Alec Cohen touched first in the men's 400 free in 3:56.43. Three Village's Tom Luchsinger finished behind Cohen in 3:57.16, while Cohen's teammate Jimmy Yoder ended up third in 3:58.67.
Auburn's Olivia Scott broke 1:00 and jumped into the world top-50 in winning the women's 100 fly. Scott clocked 59.24, while SwimMAC's Andrea Georoff touched second in 1:00.20, and Hershey's Katie Nolan took third in 1:00.36. Swim Atlanta's Amber McDermott touched out Athens Bulldogs' Chelsea Nauta for the win in the women's 400 free, 4:13.10 to 4:13.17, while Nauta's teammate Shannon Vreeland took third in 4:16.63. McDermott will move to Athens in the fall to swim for the University of Georgia alongside both Nauta and Vreeland.
Before finals, SwimMAC teammates Nick Brunelli and Josh Schneider took part in a 50 free time trial in which both clocked 22.29. The time is just shy of Schneider's 21st-ranked 22.28 from Charlotte UltraSwim two months ago, while Brunelli moved into a 23rd-ranked tie with Adam Brown and Nicholas Santos. Interestingly, the two also tied in the final round of the Jax50 back in April, tying for third place. Brunelli ended up winning third outright in a 25-yard swim-off.
The women's and men's 800 free relays rounded ou the night's action, with Lakeside's Meredith King, Elizabeth House, Michelle Gasior, and Leah Stevens taking first in the women's race in 8:26.85. SwimMAC's Eric Knight, Godsoe, Tarwater, and John Stilley won the corresponding men's race in 7:40.11.