CeraVe Invitational: Lia Neal, Arthur Frayler Set Meet Records

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Feature by Swimming World intern Rachel Emodi, Celeste Cirillo-Penn

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 14. THE second night of the 2012 CeraVe Invitational went in the books with a pair of meet records falling by the wayside during long course meter competition.

The Saturday night finals ended much as Friday night's began, with Arthur Frayler of Germantown Academy Aquatic Club achieving another meet record. Frayler finished first in the 400 free with a time of 3:56.39, beating the previous record of 3:56.79 set by Dan Madwed in 2007. He also made an Olympic Trial Cut in the event. Thomas Duvall came in second with 4:01.39 and Bradley Wachenfeld took third with 4:01.95.

"I always keep the first 200 nice and easy and then try to pick it up a little bit," Frayler said of the race. "So far I'm pretty happy with where I am in my training. I think this is right where I should be. I'm trying to focus on the little things like turns, kicking, just overall technique."

In the first event of a successful night at the Sonny Werblin Aquatics Center, Frayler won the 400 IM with a time of 4:32.13. Christian Yeager took second with 4:34.02 and Alex Lebed finished third with a time of 4:35.01.

"I think I did really well," Frayler said. "I'm in the middle of my training right now obviously unshaved, untapered so."

The first and second place finalists in the women's 50 meter freestyle made the Olympic Trial cut as well. Lia Neal won with a 25.96, and though it was not her first time making this cut, her goal was "to go around my best time. I wanted to get out fast- I usually have trouble doing that." Neal downed the meet record of 26.13 set by Michele King in 2006. Megan Waters came in second with a 26.24, also making the Olympic Trials. Megean Dollard finished third with a Scholastic All American cut time of 27.27.

Rachel Zilinskas finished first in the women's 100 meter backstroke, making the Olympic Trials for the first time in this event. Kaitlyn Jones came in second to Zilinskas with a Junior National cut time of 1:04.34, and Casey Fazio finished third with a Scholastic All American time of 1:05.48.

"My back has been coming along lately. I wanted the Trial cut. I knew as long as I kept up my tempo on the last 25 I could bring it home," Zilinskas said.

In her second win of the night, Zilinskas posted another Olympic Trial cut in the women's 400 meter freestyle with a 4:15.77. Neal came in a distant second with a 4:20.66 and Dollard finished third with a 4:22.33. Both women made the Junior National cut time.

"I had lots of events close together, I'm not really rested. I was tired but knew I had to control it in the first 200, then build it so I would have something left for the end," Zilinskas said after her race.

In the women's 400 individual medley, Annie Zhu took home another first place after her first-place finish in the 200 individual medley last night. She clocked a 4:50.18, close to her best and again making the Olympic Trial cut. The second and third place finishers in the women's 400 meter individual medley also made the Olympic Trials. Kaitlyn Jones came in second with a 4:51.68, and Rachel Zilinskas finished third with a 4:52.08.

Zhu's goal, she said, was to "Hold on and keep up my tempo. I'm very happy, and I was not as tired as this morning."

The women's 400 medley relay from Somerset Valley YMCA came in a surprise first place with a sectional cut of 4:26.45, beating their prelim time of 4:26.56 by a close margin of a second. When asked if they expected to win the event, they quickly responded "NO!" and laughed. Peddie Aquatic Association's women's relay came in second with a 4:27.70, and the relay from Badger Swim Club got a 4:31.30, finishing third to end the night.

In an extremely close race, Geoff Meyer took home the victory in the 50 free with 24.11. Michael Domagala finished second with a time of 24.16 and Patrick Park was third with 24.61.

"[My strategy was] swim as fast as I can, don't breathe a lot, good technique, getting off the block fast," Meyer said. "Fifty is not my best event so I was happy getting first."

Connor Green won the 100 back with a time of 58.06. Luke Papendick finished in second with 59.43 and En-Wei Hu-Van Wright placed third with 59.45.

"I just wanted to get out fast because in the morning I wasn't so fast," Green said. "I am happy with it. I would have liked to have gone a 57 but I'm happy with a 58.06."

In the final men's event of the night, Peddie Aquatic Association won the 400 medley relay. The team of Victor Honore, Forrest Davis, Patrick Park and Alex Rosen finished with a time of 4:01.76. Bluefish Swim Club-NE placed second with 4:03.56 and Lakeland Hills YMCA-NJ took third with a time of 4:06.92.

"We were kind of behind, so I was just looking at them because they were out front," Patrick Park said of the race.