Gingrich Mines Gold at Victorian Champs for U.S. National Junior Team

MELBOURNE, Australia, January 6. LEAH Gingrich captured her first individual gold on Day 4 of the Victorian State Championships, highlighting another strong day of performances for the U.S. National Junior Team. The Americans captured six medals on Friday to bring its meet total to 29: nine gold, eight silver and 12 bronze.

During the first three days of the meet, Gingrich had earned a medal of every color: gold as a member of the 800 freestyle relay, silver in the 400 free and bronze in the 200 butterfly and 1500 free. It was only the individual gold that eluded her. Gingrich got her chance on Friday in the 800 free, as she swam down Australian National Team members Elka Graham, Haley Reddaway and Caroline North to win the gold with a time of 8:39.89. American teammate Monica Drake posted an 8:43.31 to take home the bronze. In a stacked American field, four additional U.S. swimmers finished in the top 10.

“The women’s 800 free was an outstanding race,” said Mike Parratto, women’s assistant coach. “It has to give all of those distance girls and their coaches great confidence in their ability. I think their training will move to a whole new level.”

Michelle McKeehan notched a double-bronze performance, finishing in third in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. In the 100m breast, McKeehan clocked a 1:09.93 to become the first Junior Team member to break the 1:10 barrier. Australian Olympic medalist Brooke Hanson won the gold in both events.

Eugene Godsoe narrowly missed winning medals on Friday, but he put together an impressive performance to lead the men’s team. Competing in three finals, Godsoe finished fourth in the 50 back and fifth in the 50 fly. He then took on Australian Olympians Michael Klim and Brett Hawke in the 100 free semifinals, qualifying in the eighth spot for tomorrow evening’s final.

“I’m really glad I made it back in the 100 free,” Godsoe said. “I had a really slow turn. From the race analysis information, I think it was the slowest turn in the history of USA Swimming. If I can correct that, I should be successful tomorrow night.”

Other U.S. medals on Day 4 included Josh Hafkin’s silver in the 50 backstroke and Megan Romano’s bronze in the 100m free. Day 5 of the Victorian Championships at the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre begins with heats at 9 a.m. and finals at 6:30 p.m.

National Junior Team Results:

Men’s 50 Back FINAL:
Josh Hafkin (Rockville, Md.), 26.36, Silver
Eugene Godsoe (Greensboro, N.C.), 26.73, 4th

Men’s 50 Fly FINAL:
Eugene Godsoe (Greensboro, N.C.), 25.73, 5th
David Seiler (Auburn, Calif.), 25.75, 6th

Women’s 100 Breast FINAL:
Michelle McKeehan (Greenwood, Ind.), 1:09.93, Bronze
Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.), 1:12.18, 4th
Jessica Schmitt (San Diego, Calif.), 1:13.85, 6th

Women’s 200 IM FINAL:
Michelle McKeehan (Greenwood, Ind.), 2:17.89, Bronze
Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.), 2:19.81, 6th
Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.), 2:20.73, 7th
Kathleen Hersey (Atlanta, Ga.), 2:20.79, 8th
Jessica Schmitt (San Diego, Calif.), 2:21.69, 10th

Women’s 100 Free FINAL:
Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 56.76, Bronze
Karlee Bispo (Modesto, Calif.), 57.41, 4th
Samantha Woodward (Edmond, Okla.), 57.70, 6th

Women’s 800 Free FINAL:
Leah Gingrich (Enola, Pa.), 8:39.89, Gold
Monica Drake (Bloomington, Ill.), 8:43.31, Bronze
Chloe Sutton (Ashburn, Va.), 8:43.52, 4th
Corinne Showalter (Sarasota, Fla.), 8:49.57, 5th
Jessica Rodriquez (Aurora, Colo.), 8:52.76, 6th
Chelsea Franklin (Estero, Fla.), 8:58.09, 8th

Men’s 100 Free SEMI advancing:
Eugene Godsoe (Greensboro, N.C.), 52.68, 8th

Women’s 50 Back SEMI advancing:
Kristen Shickora (Tamaqua, Pa.), 29.68, 2nd
Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 30.41, 8th

Women’s 100 Fly SEMI advancing:
Samantha Woodward (Edmond, Okla.), 1:02.20, 4th
Kathleen Hersey (Atlanta, Ga.), 1:03.04, 6th
Tanya Krisman (Wildomar, Calif.), 1:03.10, 7th
Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), 1:03.38, 10th

Men’s 50 Breast SEMI advancing:
Dillon Connolly (Marietta, Ga.), 29.69, 3rd
Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.), 30.65, 9th
Troy Nissen (Sacramento, Calif.), 30.67, 10th

Women’s 50 Free SEMI advancing:
Samantha Woodward (Edmond, Okla.), 26.61, 4th
Karlee Bispo (Modesto, Calif.), 26.70, 5th
Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 26.72, 6th
Kristen Shickora (Tamaqua, Pa.), 27.09, 8th

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