Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz, Ricardo Vargas Earn Olympic B Cuts at UANA Qualifier

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Ricardo Vargas; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz and Ricardo Vargas each picked up Olympic B cuts in the 400 individual medley Friday night at the UANA qualifier in Clermont, Fla.

Cruz went 4:19.01, a drop of nearly five seconds from his seed time, to attain the B cut. Vargas went 4:21.30 to get his B cut, trimming 2.1 seconds off his seed time. Both Cruz, who attended the University of the Incarnate Word, and Michigan alum Vargas represent Mexico. Vargas swam at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The meet at the Orlando Health National Training Center is an opportunity for swimmers primarily from South and Central America and the Caribbean to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Some American swimmers, particularly those that train in Florida, are also racing there.

The third new B cut from the meet came via Alfonso Mestre in the 200 free, the Puerto Rican national champ and University of Florida swimmer going 1:49.84. He was third in that race. Khader Baqlah, the 2016 Jordanian Olympian who trains at Florida, won in 1:48.10, 1.6 shy of his best time. Jorge Iga of Mexico, who entered within 12 hundredths of the A cut, was slower than his seed in going 1:48.40 for second.

Dominican swimmer Josue Dominguez, off a stellar season at BYU, put down a personal-best 1:01.25 in winning the 100 breast. He had already attained a B cut in the event. On the women’s side, Melissa Rodriguez Villanueva won in 1:09.11, unable to close the last .25 seconds to the automatic standard. Second was Micaela Sierra, who went 1:12.13 to lower her national record of 1:12.73.

On the first night of the UANA qualifier, Kate Beavon won the women’s 1,500 free in 16:55.59, and Bobby Finke claimed the men’s 800 free in 7:55.05.

Friday winners included: Maria Jose Mata Cocco in the women’s 200 free (2:01.16), Pia Murray in the women’s 100 back (1:02.94), Clark Beach in the men’s 100 back (55.70) and Julia Podkoscielny in the women’s 400 IM (4:47.15).

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