Australian Travel Squad Wins Three of Four Relays to Kick Off LA Invite

LOS ANGELES, California, July 17. THE first night of swimming featured relays and distance freestyle prelims with the Australians putting on a show for the U.S.-based swimmers in attendance at the LA Invite.

The Austalian’s team of Melissa Mitchell (25.67), Carla Buchanan (25.79), Holly Barratt (25.22) and Yolane Kukla (24.93) took down the women’s 200-meter free relay title in 1:41.61. Rose Bowl’s Heather MacDougall (26.90), Tiare Coker (26.20), Kirsten Vose (26.54) and Katherine Wagner (25.86) placed second in 1:45.50, while SoCal’s Emily Eastin (27.52), Ella Eastin, Katie Glavinovich and Aislinn Light (26.98) finished third in 1:48.13. No splits were registered for the middle two legs.

Jessica Hardy, meanwhile, turned in a 29.51 while swimming breaststroke as the Trojan squad of Evan Swenson (26.24), Hardy, Bexx Heliger (28.17) and Lucy Worrall (38.66) placed well back in 2:02.58. Hardy, ever the team player, jumped out of the pool and went right to work as a timer as she explained via Twitter.

Simon Fraser’s Andrew Poznikoff (23.17), David Hibberd (25.26), Steven Hibberd (19.69) and Ben Berg (22.53) tracked down the men’s 200-meter free relay title in 1:30.65. Australia’s Alexander Graham (22.86), Justin James (22.90), Buster Sykes (23.08) and Nathaniel Romeo (22.72) finished secon din 1:31.56. Rose Bowl’s Michael Fobes (24.24), Sascha Subarsky (23.34), Oliver Maarse (25.04) and Corey John (23.50) picked up third in 1:36.12.

Additionally, Irvine Novaquatics put together a stellar boys 13-14 200-meter free relay to dash the national age group record in the event.

The team of Owen Kao (25.46), Justin Nguyen (24.67), Andrew Koustik (25.81) and Hunter Hitchens (25.06) clocked a time of 1:41.00 to finish 10th in the open timed final. That performance cleared the 2008 record of 1:41.34 set by Lake Oswego. That team was made up of Daniel Chen, Nick Bode, Alex Lyons and Gunnar Wolfe.

The Australian squad of Holly Barratt, Samantha Marshall, Marieke D’Cruz and Yolane Kukla won the women’s 200-meter medley relay in 1:51.64 with no splits registered. The Aussie B team of Mikkayla Sheridan (29.33), Jessica Hansen (31.68), Carla Buchanan (28.13) and Melissa Mithcell (25.03) finished second in 1:54.17. Roadrunner’s Tatum Collatz (31.89), Jorie Caneta (32.02), Nicolette Goncalves (28.41) and Stanzi Moseley (25.63) finished third in 1:57.95.

The Aussies closed the show with a third relay win as Alexander Graham (27.37), Jake Packard (26.55), Nathaniel Romeo (23.95) and Justin James (22.72) won the men’s 200-meter free relay in 1:40.59. Class Aquatics’ David Puczkowski (26.45), Hunter Cobleigh (29.08), Chase Bloch (23.75) and Kevin Nielsen (23.79) clinched second in 1:43.07. Roadrunner’s Brock Bonetti (26.87), Eric Sande (29.88), Mitchell Huxhold (26.77) and Fran Cverle (24.65) picked up third-place honors in 1:48.17.

Irvine Nova’s Nguyen (28.98), Koustik (32.76), Hitchens (27.14) and Kao (24.62) took a run at another 13-14 relay NAG, but finished with a 1:53.50 for 12th overall. That’s short of the 1:52.78 set by KING Aquatics in 2012.

In distance freestyle preliminary qualifying, Jordan Wilimovsky topped the men’s 1500-meter free in 15:15.50. Australia’s Jack McLoughlin was the distant second-place qualifier with a 15:42.00. Australia went 1-2 in the women’s 800-meter free prelims with Kylie Palmer (8:38.18) and Leah Neale (8:40.60) putting up easy speed times for the top two seeds.

Full results available on Meet Mobile.