FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, April 4. THE YMCA National Championships got under way Tuesday at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. The highlight of the evening came with a meet record swim in the women's 200 medley relay. The YMCA of the Triangle women's 200 medley relay team of Candace Cooper, Lisa Pucci, Jessalyn Crawford and Teresa Long set a new meet record with a time of 1:43.94.
Cooper took the first event of the evening, touching the wall at 55.57 in the 100-yard backstroke. Leah Gingrich from West Shore dominated the 500-yard freestyle, splitting a 56.71 on the last 100 to win in 4:46.20.
Ashley Jones, Corinne Showalter and Katie Bachrouche went head-to-head-to-head in the women's 200 I.M. Jones touched the wall first in 2:03.22, to Showalter's 2:03.87. Bachrouche closed out the field in 2:03.99. Long took the shortest race of the night, winning the 50 free in 23.23.
Also in women's action, 12-year-old Elizabeth Pelton (Wilton) set an NAG record in the 100 backstroke with her fourth-place time of 55.97. The effort broke the 11-12 NAG standard of 56.23, set in 1994 by Beth Botsford.
For the men, Clint McClendon started the meet off winning the 100 backstroke in 50.37. Charlie Houchin nearly broke the national YMCA record in the 500 freestyle with his blazing time of 4:23.71. Marshel Renz won the 200 I.M. in 1:51.35.
Matt Donch and Eric McGinnis went head-to-head in the 50-yard dash. Donch touched first in 20.59, while McGinnis came in second 20.81. The relay team of Nelson Silva, Scott Thacker, Igor Nishi, and Gustavo Chagas from Franklin won the 200 Medley Relay in 1:32.19.
Photo: Elizabeth Pelton with coach Jeff Allen.