By Josh Jeffrey
September 1. USA Swimming's Central Zone Championships took place this August at the world famous Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis. Many US Open, US National, and Zone marks were clocked in what is considered by many to be the fastest pool in the world.
Three girls dominated their specialties, taking two golds each. Illinois freestyler Lindsey Gendron won the 100 (1:06.48) and 200 (2:26.46) freestyles, while breaststroking teammate Caroline Chang swept her pet events, taking gold in the 50 (38.58) and 100 (1:25.34). Team Indiana backstroker Julie Ogden was the third double winner, winning both the 50 (35.63) and 100 (1:16.33) of her specialty.
For the boys, Team Indiana's Kevin Behrens took five individual events, winning the 50 free (30.08), 50 (34.83) and 100 back (1:15.19), 50 fly (32.86) and 200 IM (2:43.29).
Oklahoma's Samantha Woodward was the outstanding swimmer in the girls' division, taking four titles. Woodward won the 50 free (28.43), 50 back (31.93), 50 (29.96) and 100 (1:06.95) flys.
On the boys' side, Illinois swimmer Andrew Snabes was spectacular, swimming to six titles. Snabes won the 100 (58.60) and 200 (2:04.86) freestyles, 50 (30.81) and 100 (1:06.41) backstrokes, and the 50 (28.48) and 100 (1:01.32) butterfly. The latter swim was also a Zone record, obliterating the previous standard of 1:04.34 set back in 1985, well before Snabes was even born. Snabes also assisted his state's medley teams to two new Zone records. Teaming up with Jocob Jarzen, Justin Yu, and Matt Krzminski, the 200 medley relay swam to a 2:02.84, cracking the mark of 2:03.85 set by team Indiana in 2000. In the 400, he teamed up with Jarzen, Yu, and Tyler Capen to destroy the previous Zone mark by nearly two seconds, touching in 4:30.50 to erase Indiana's 4:32.38 from 2000. Their closest competitor, Indiana, was more than ten seconds behind.
The girls' division was loaded with Zone record performances, but the only quadruple winner was Colleen McReynolds of Team Illinois, who notched wins in the 400 IM (5:04.82), 200 (2:07.90), 400 (4:25.51) and 800 (8:57.09) freestyles. Her times in the 400 and 800 were not only Zone records, but also US Open qualifying standards. Her time in the 800 broke the previous Zone standard by more than six seconds.
McReynolds also assisted the Illinois 400m freestyle team of Kathryn Snedeker, Francie Szostak, and Allie Davitt to a new Zone record of 4:03.31, defeating the former mark of 4:04.24 set by Indiana in 2001. Also under the mark was the team from Missouri Valley, just behind at 4:03.48.
Wisconsin backstroker Allison Smith took home a Zone record in the 100m backstroke, swimming to a 1:06.46 to remove Kristi Heydanek's 1987 mark of 1:06.96 from the books.
Ozark breaststroker Liz Smith did the same, cracking the 100m breaststroke Zone record by nearly a second with her winning time of 1:14.48 to remove S. Wright's 1998 mark of 1:15.37. Her time also was a US Open qualifying mark by half a second.
In the 200m breaststroke, two swimmers were under the former record, as Jamie Bruce, kid sister of National champion Caroline Bruce, hit the wall first in 2:43.71 to edge out Ozark's Denise Letendre (2:43.86). Both swimmers defeated the former mark of 2:44.41 set by S. Wright in 1998.
Letendre got a chance to hold a Zone mark of her own in the 200m individual medley when her winning time of 2:24.42 was more than a second faster than Abby Hoisington's 2:25.71 from 2001.
For the boys, Phillip Seleskie was the biggest winner, taking four wins and a new Zone record. Seleskie was tops in the 200 free (1:59.19), 200 back (2:12.03), and 200 IM (2:13.45- just two hundredths off the Zone record), but his best performance came with a win in the 400 IM where his time of 4:45.21 was well ahead of the previous standard of 4:46.68 set by M. Fenno in 1998.
Ohio's David Mosko was the other individual record breaker, taking wins in the 800 (8:48.17) and 1500 (16:39.16) before realizing his best performance in the 200 fly. M. Unruh's record of 2:10.96 had stood since 1980, and it was time for it to go. Mosko hit the pads at 2:09.30 to destroy the mark by nearly two seconds.
Team Iowa had what could be considered the best swims of the meet. In the men's 400m freestyle relay, their foursome of Nathan Hohnstein, Chuck Christensen, Nick Cordes, and Jordan Wessels, all of whom swim for Iowa's Blackhawk Area Swim Team, united to destroy the National Age Group mark of 3:45.85 set by San Jose back in 1984. Their time of 3:44.34 was also a new Zone mark, obliterating the former standard set by Indiana (3:46.28) back in 1995.
Perhaps even more impressive was their performance in the 200m freestyle relay, as the same quartet erased the previous NAG mark of 1:43.77 set by Concord Hill way back in 1980, with a clocking of 1:43.15. It is unclear at this time whether or not US Swimming will accept these times as NAG records as the times were swum in Zone competition while representing the LSC, not the club team.
Karen Criss had the best swim of the girls' division for the entire meet with her win in the 100 backstroke. Criss' time of 1:05.21 not only cracked the Zone record, but was also a Senior National time standard. As well, she notched a US Open standard with her second place finish in the 100 free (58.54). Indiana's Christy Grcevich won both the 50 (27.09) and 100 (58.37) freestyles to notch two US Open standards.
Five more US Open cuts were achieved over the course of the women's events as 200 backstroke winner Whitney Wodstrchill notched one with her time of 2:22.18, as did 100m breaststroke winner Abby Hoisington (1:14.43). The women's 100m fly had three qualifiers, as winner Betsy Grover (1:03.50), silver medalist Elena Ramirez (1:03.86), and bronze winner Grcevich (1:04.05) all qualified. Grover's time was also a new Zone record.
All four relays saw new Zone records, and all were won by a different team. Grover's team of Emma Berry, Rachel Musser, and Lindsay Herre from Missouri Valley notched a Zone standard in the 200m freestyle relay with their time of 1:51.46, breaking the former mark of 1:52.01 set in 2001 by Michigan.
Grcevich's Indiana team of Becky Triemstra, Maggie Behrens, and Nicole Allfrey annihilated the Zone mark in the 400m freestyle relay with their time of 4:00.23, breaking the 4:03.71 standard set in 2002 by Missouri Valley in a race that saw the top five teams under the former Zone record.
Team Illinois' foursome of Elena Ramirez, Malarie Schmidt, Emily Mycyk, and Kayla Redig took the women's 200m medley relay in 2:03.06 to destroy Missouri Valley's 2002 standard of 2:04.77 by more than a second and a half.
Wodstrchill's Iowa team of Hayley Fry, Sarah Bicknell, and Samantha Goldstein made waste of the 2002 Missouri Valley Zone record in the 400m medley relay, their time of 4:25.63 surpassing the previous mark of 4:29.56 by nearly four seconds.
A heaping helping of US Open standards were set on the men's side, with Indiana's Tyler McGill leading the way. McGill won the 200 free (1:54.80), 400 free (4:06.59) and 100 (57.02) and 200 fly (2:07.18). The 200 free and 100 fly times were US Open standards, with the 200 fly and 400 free just missing the mark by tenths.
Indiana's Ted Brown also notched a couple standards, taking one with a second place finish in the 200 free (1:55.41), before notching a standard and a win in the 200 IM with a time of 2:09.60. Brown also won the 200 back (2:10.63) and 400 IM (4:38.56).
Minnesota's Jason Timmer qualified as well in winning the 100m freestyle with a time of 52.87.
The boys' breaststroke events were the most exciting races during this session, and in both cases resulted in multiple US Open standards. Indiana's Colin Stalnecker won the 100 (1:06.22), with Minnesota's Ronnie Hehn in second (1:06.78), also inching under the qualifying time of 1:06.79. The 200m event though saw four swimmers qualify, as Indiana's AJ Miller won (2:23.43), Jacob Mentele took silver (2:23.82), Hehn took bronze (2:24.08) and Stalnecker 4th (2:24.18), all swimmers well under the 2:25.29 standard. The rest of the field finished nearly ten seconds back. Hehn would notch a third standard in finishing 2nd in the 200 IM (2:10.31).
Just as with the girls, the male 15-over teams broke the existing Zone marks in all four relays.
Ozark's foursome of Andrew Langenfeld, Sandor Kovacs, Alex Holtkamp, and Brad Byars won the 200m freestyle relay with a new Zone record of 1:37.48 to break the standard of 1:37.80 set by Wisconsin in 1998.
Timmer and Hehn joined with Minnesota teammates Jake Burgess and Adam Weis to win the 400m freestyle relay in 3:34.86, more than two seconds ahead of the former standard of 3:37.43 set by Michigan in 2001. The top three teams were all under the former Zone record.
Team Indiana's 200m medley relay of Joseph Colley, Daniel Walter, Kyle Ruth, and Eddie Kenney were dominant in their win of the event. Touching in 1:47.90, they obliterated the former Zone record of 1:49.18 set by Midwestern Swimming in 2001.
Colley and Ruth would team up with Stalnecker and Brown to win the 400m medley relay in 3:58.02 to crush the Zone record of 4:01.39 also set by Midwestern in 2001 by more than two seconds. Team Michigan were also well under the mark, touching second in 3:58.51. Both teams were more than eight seconds ahead of the field.