Gillian Ryan and Brooke Zeiger Post Double Wins on Night One of CeraVe Invitational

By Swimming World Intern Natasha Mascarenhas

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey. January 10. THE first night of the 2014 CeraVe Invitational was filled with laughs, smiles and milestone achievements. The 12 events highlighted swimmers from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and California, among others. Looking back, Long Island Aquatic Club and North Baltimore Aquatic Club had specifically successful nights.

Women 800 Freestyle
Kicking off the meet with a splash, Gillian Ryan from North Baltimore dominated the race, one year after finishing second to Olympic champion Katie Ledecky at this meet. She was powered by her solid start, and remained strong throughout the race. Ryan finished first with a time of 8:31.40, continuing her work towards this summer’s nationals. In second place came Cierra Runge with an 8:35.95, also from North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Representing Germantown Academy Aquatic Club, Sierra Schmidt finished in third place with a time of 8:51.72.

Men 800 Freestyle
Californian Jerad Kaskawal won with an 8:18.62 while representing California’s FAST Swim Team. Kaskawal performed a spectacular negative split in the race, posting a 4:09.86 at 400 meters and finishing with a 4:09.42. Andrew DeFriece from Germantown Academy Aquatic club, was close behind Kaskawal, and trailed only by a little, finishing second with an 8:20.89. In third place came Spencer Lafata, from Badger Swim Club (8:24.11).

Women 100 Breaststroke
The women’s 100 breaststroke was a race filled with fast swimmers, enormous passion, and an even greater drive to win. In the C Finals, Julianna Runk from North Baltimore Aquatic club came in to win first with 1:17.19. She beat her preliminary time of 1:21.48. In the B Finals, Scarlet Aquatics’ Sarah Slepian took first (1:17.50).

The A Finals were a neck-to-neck fight to first. Brooke Zeiger, from Bluefish Swim Club, and Lauren James, from North Baltimore Aquatic club, stayed fighting to keep up with each other throughout the race. In the end, Zeiger was able to pull through winning the race with a time of 1:13.25. Not close behind, Lauren James was the runner up with a time of 1:13.46. There was also a strong performance by Erin Barry, a member of the Berkeley Aquatic Club who finished third (1:14.65).

Men 100 Breaststroke
John Guiliano of North Baltimore won the C Finals (1:12.41). In the B finals, Anthony Rizzo from Scarlet Aquatics beat his preliminary time of 1:12.83 with a new time of 1:11.02.

Delaney Hall from the Long Island Aquatic Club achieved first place in the A Finals. With a time of 1:07.92, Hall’s agility and drive was clearly displayed through his swimming. Connor Green, from Bluefish Swim Club, and Ganem Tebet from FAST Swim Team, both strived for the coveted second place. Green ended up second with a time of 1:10.70, leaving Tebet with third place with a 1:11.55.

Women 200 Freestyle
The women’s 200 free was an upbeat race that brought about faster times than the prelim session. In the C Final, Shannon McKernan of Germantown won first place (2:08.27). In the B Finals, Lilly Vivado of Bluefish Swim club dominated the race with a final time of 2:05.75.

However, the A finals are where things truly got interesting. North Baltimore achieved first place and second place. Gillian Ryan, just minutes after her impressive 800, won with an impressive time of 2:00.81, while Cierra Runge got second place with an amazing time of 2:01.54. Both Ryan and Runge beat their preliminary times by more than four seconds. In third, Brooke Zeiger came back to shortly after the 100 breast, and got third with 2:05.32.

Men 200 Freestyle
Germantown’s Andrew Abruzzo won the C finals (1:59.64), and the B finals were won by Connor Kalisz of North Baltimore Aquatic Club (1:58.49). Both boys beat their preliminary times substantially.

Cole Buese won the A Finals with a time of 1:57.27. Trailing behind Buese, John Nunez from Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics got second place (1:55.99). Nunez showed a good effort to keep up with Buese throughout the race, but was unable to secure first. In third place came Jerad Kaskawal (1:56.93), from FAST Swim Team.

Women 100 butterfly
Elizabeth Mahoney, of Cape Cod Swim Club, won C finals with a time of 1:06.48. Isabella Kearns won the B finals (1:07.82) representing FAST Swim Team.

Bluefish Swim Club’s Liz Zeiger, the younger sister of Brooke, won the A finals with an impressive time of 1:03.24. Zeiger pushed the entire race, and although teammate Lilly Vivado tried to keep up, Zeiger maintained her lead. Vivado still ended up with second place with a 1:03.30, while third place went to Paige Kaplan of Long Island Aquatic Club (1:04:16).

Men 100 Butterfly
Connor Green won the B finals, getting a time of 58.58. Eric Wang from Badger Swim Club won the C Finals with a time faster than his prelim time of 59.59.

Cole Buese of North Baltimore won the men’s 100 butterfly (56.70). Buese maintained a lead throughout the race, and finished strong with a great surge in the end. Second place went to Ryan Sebastian, who represented Scarlet Aquatics. Sebastian ended the race with a final time of 57.40. Sam Spurrell had a great effort, and he achieved third place with a time of 57.64.

Women 200 IM
Emily McQuaid, a member of Bluefish Swim Club, won the C finals with a time of 2:25.60. In the B finals, Lily Vivado got first with a time of 2:22.97.

Brooke Zeiger celebrated her second victory of the night when she won the women’s 200 individual medley in 2:16.58. Zeiger’s agility forced Cierra Runge of North Baltimore to get second yet again tonight with a time of 2:17.19. In third came Liz Zeiger with a 2:18.01.

Men 200 IM
The men’s individual medley was an energetic race characterized by supporting cheers. The C finals were won by Ganem Tebet, of FAST Swim Team with a 2:14.23. Brett Saunders, of Delaware Swim Team, won the B finals in 2:13.39.

Connor Green touched the wall first, and the scoreboard showed a time of 2:05.32. But it was later that he was disqualified from the race. In his place, Ryan Sebastian of Scarlet Aquatics got the win with a 2:09.53. Connor Kalisz, the younger brother of world championship medalist Chase Kalisz, came in a close second with 2:10.07, and Christopher Wang ended third with 2:11.24. All three boys were in a tight race for second behind Green throughout, but in the end Sebastian pulled forward.

Women 800 Freestyle Relay
The women 800 freestyle relay was a fast paced race with strong showings from Bluefish and North Baltimore. Bluefish had two key swimmers (and sisters) Blake and Brooke Zeiger, and North Baltimore also had two strong swimmers in Runge and Ryan. Both teams exemplified great passion, however North Baltimore won with a time of 8:19:06, beating the year-old meet record that Runge and Ryan helped set in 2013. Bluefish ended second with an 8:32.28 after being within striking distance of the win after 600 meters.

Men 800 Freestyle Relay

The men 800 freestyle relay ended the night off in an exciting way. North Baltimore and Bluefish battled stroke for stroke through the entire race, with each enjoying small leads throughout. It was Bluefish who snagged the win with a 7:55.90 over North Baltimore’s 7:56.05.

Watch Jeff Commings’ video recap of the meet in the player below, then scroll down for a link to complete results!