Mason Manta Rays and Terrapins Swim Team Set Up Thrilling Finale On Last Morning Of Speedo Junior Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The final morning of the 2018 Speedo Junior Nationals from Irvine, California set up an exciting finish between the Mason Manta Rays and the Terrapins Swim Team as the two teams are tied atop the men’s leaderboard after four days. Jake Foster and Andrei Minakov are top seeds for each team in their respective events.

The women’s 50 free will also be a stacked race with four swimmers having already won events this week. Christiana RegenauerErin GemmellKaitlyn Dobler and Alexandra Crisera have all won at least one event so far this week and they will be vying for the 50 title tonight.

Grace Sheble is the other top seed in the 200 IM.

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Women’s 200 IM

15-year-old Grace Sheble of Nova of Virginia has the top seed in the 200 IM by almost a full second as she swam a 2:16.82 on the last morning of the Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine. Sheble is almost a full second ahead of second place Claire Tuggle of Clovis Swim Club (2:17.65) who won the 400 IM.

Tuggle moved up to number 28 all-time in the 13-14 age group behind Maya DiRado and a few spots ahead of Natalie Coughlin.

Asphalt Green’s Isabel Gormley (2:17.85) and Team Greenville’s Anna Havens Rice (2:17.97) followed them as they could have a chance to take the win tonight. Gormley was second in the 400 IM after Tuggle chased her down the last 50.

Annika Wagner (2:18.84), Hannah Foster (2:19.11), Paige McCormick (2:19.31) and Claire Donan (2:19.53) also qualified for the A-Final.

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Men’s 200 IM

The Mason Manta Rays took the top two spots in the 200 IM final with Jake Foster on top with a 2:03.43 to Carson Foster’s 2:03.46 in second. The Manta Rays are in contention for the men’s team title and putting two up in the A-Final is huge for them. They are currently in the lead tied with Terrapins Swim Team after four days of competition.

Andrew Winton (2:04.12) of Swim Atlanta and Nicholas Perera of the Dayton Raiders (2:04.51) are third and fourth. Winton has committed to Notre Dame while Perera has committed to Alabama.

Zach Hils (2:04.86), Jason Louser (2:05.05), Tim Connery (2:05.08) and Shane Blinkman (2:05.43) also qualified for the A-Final. Louser already won the 400 IM and Connery is headed to Junior Pan Pacs in a few weeks.

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Women’s 50 Free

Christiana Regenauer of Condors Swim Club was one of two swimmers to break 26 seconds in the 50 free heats on the last day of the Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine. Regenauer, already a winner in the 100 free, swam a 25.75 ahead of Emma Wheal‘s 25.89. Regenauer has committed to Louisville where she will be a freshman in the fall of 2019. Wheal is also in the class of 2019 and has committed to Virginia.

The rest of the field behind the top two is separated by 0.13 seconds as Megan Keil (26.03) and Rachel Rhee (26.09) will be in lanes three and six in the final.

This is a very stacked final as half the field has already won an event this week in Irvine.

100 breast champ Kaitlyn Dobler (26.10) and 200 free champ Erin Gemmell (26.15) are also in the A-Final as well as 200 and 100 back champ Alexandra Crisera (26.16). Add in Regenauer from the 100 free and that’s four total swimmers who have already won gold medals.

Elsa Fretz (26.13) is also in the A-Final and could get in the top three.

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Men’s 50 Free

The Terrapins Swim Team fought back with two A-Finalists in the 50 free as the two Eastern Europeans Andrei Minakov (22.87) and Alexei Sancov (23.13) are seeded first and sixth for tonight’s final at the Speedo Junior Nationals in Irvine. Minakov might challenge the meet record of 22.13 by Vlad Morozov from 2010. Minakov has already set two meet records this week at Juniors.

The Terrapins are currently tied for first with the Mason Manta Rays after four days. Adam Chaney of the Manta Rays put up the second seeded time with a 22.96. Minakov and Chaney were the only two under 23 in the heats. Chaney will represent Team USA at Junior Pan Pacs later this summer and Minakov will represent Russia at the Youth Olympic Games.

Skyler Cook-Weeks (23.02) put up a solid time for the third seed as he will be swimming for Queens next year.

Coco Bratanov (23.10), Cooper Deryk (23.12), Brandon Hamblin (23.15) and Topher Stensby (23.21) also qualified for the A-Final.

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Author: Andy Ross

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Andy Ross is the new man on board at Swimming World. He is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is a 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he graduated cum laude.

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