Matthew Fenlon, Danielle Ghine Young Stars On Final Night of Geneva Futures

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Photo Courtesy: @Westchester Aqua Twitter

The final night of Geneva Futures belonged to up-and-comers Matthew Fenlon of Rivertown Aquatic Club and Danielle Ghine of Retriever Aquatic Club. The two swimmers, both age fourteen, represented a rising generation of backstrokers.

Both swimmers won the 200 meter distance of the stroke in their respective events. Fenlon became the seventh ranked 200 backstroker of all time for the 13-14 age group, while Ghine found two spots on the top 100 list in both the 200 backstroke and the 100 freestyle, in which she was the silver medalist. Other highlights of the night included a tie for victory in the women’s 200 IM and a dominating 800 performance by Kyle Iorizzo.

The night started off with the women’s 100 freestyle, which belonged to Radnor Aquatic Club’s Madison Ledwith, who edged out 14-year-old Danielle Ghine of Retriever Aquatic Club for gold. Ledwith went out fast in a first fifty of 27.48, requiring the rest of the field to chase after her.

Ghine, out in 27.82, and Tara Larusso of Tide Swimming, out in 27.98, took on the chase but came up short. Ghine charged ahead to stop the clock in 57.79 for second and for a coveted spot on the top 100 fastest times of all time in her age group, while Larusso came back strong for bronze and a 57.91.

On the men’s side, Club Mountaineer’s Sam Neaveill brought home the gold with a dominating performance in 51.68. Hudson Explorers Aquatic Team’s Jay Johnson swam an aggressive first fifty in 24.86, but Neaveill passed him and the rest of the field with blazing back half in 26.66.

Canton City Schools’ William Rose, 15, also fought hard, stopping the clock in 52.04, his best. Johnson rounded out the podium with a 52.36.

In a sudden change of pace for the night, the men’s 800 free proved to be the territory of Kyle Iorizzo of Scarlet Aquatics, who trounced the competition with an 8:24.32. Iorizzo’s swim began and ended with 1:00 hundred splits that sandwiched consistent 1:03s and 1:04s.

Behind Iorizzo, the real race was for second–and it played out on paper. The University of Pittsburgh’s Ryan Schonbachler edged out Delaware Swim Team’s Emils Gustav Jurcik, who swam during the prelims, for silver by just two hundredths of a second. Schonbachler posted an 8:28.99, jam-packed with moody hundred splits ranging from 59 to 1:05, while Jurcik swam a more consistent pace for his 8:29.01.

The long stroke event of the session, the 200 backstroke, showed Danielle Ghine earning her second medal of the evening–this one gold. Ghine surged ahead on the first 100 and never looked back. Her 2:15.98 puts her at 47th on the all-time list, just ahead of Katie Hoff.

Meanwhile, Schenectady-Saratoga’s Bailey Smith, who came away with silver, took on a different strategy for her race, swimming a perfectly paced 2:17.44 with a pair of hundreds in 1:08. Finally, the bronze went to another 14-year-old, Summer Smith, swimming for the Bluefish Swim Club in 2:17.86.

An up-and-comer owned the men’s 200 backstroke as well–14-year-old Matthew Fenlon from Rivertown Aquatics took the final in 2:05.26, the seventh fastest time of all time for the 13-14 age group. Fenlon’s impressive swim was composed of textbook splits; he went out in 1:01.39 and came back in 1:03.87. His time in the finals also marked a 4.90 second time drop from his previous best (2:10.16).

Other noteworthy swims were that of North Shore Swim Club’s Jared Daigle, who snatched up the silver medal in 2:07.10, and North Penn Aquatic Club’s Aidan Daly, who was good for bronze in 2:08.13.

In the women’s distance event of the night, the 1500, Meghan Joram brought home an uncontested gold in 16:57.74, a time that annihilated the competition and dipped 28.81 seconds under her entry mark. Joram stayed under 1:09 the entire race.

The next closest finisher was Lake Erie Silver Dolphins’ 13-year-old distance fiend, Victoria Culotta, who shaved off ten seconds from her seed time to swim a 17:20.30. The final spot on the podium went to Emily Gjertsen of Westchester Aquatic Club, who also shaved off significant time from her entry (13.96 seconds, to be exact) for her 17:22.71.

The final individual women’s event of the session, the 200 IM, turned out to be an exciting finish. Giovanna Cappabianca from Hudson Explorers Aquatic Team tied with Maggie Wyngowski of Schnectady-Saratoga for gold in 2:19.90. The two traded the lead back and forth. Cappabianca was out fast in a fifty fly spit of 30.46, while Wyngowski dropped a 31.15. Wyngowski blazed to finish the backstroke in 35.31, while Cappabianca went 36.92.

Meanwhile, Cappabianca built speed for a speedy back half of 40.42 in the breast (to Wyngowski’s 40.44) and 32.10 in the free (to Wyngowski’s 33.00), until the two finally hit the pads at the same time. The third-place finisher was Paige McCormick, Cappabianca’s teammate, with a 2:20.85.

On the other hand, the men’s race saw a close battle for silver. North Penn Aquatic Club’s Sean Faikish claimed the gold in 2:07.96, well ahead of his competitors. The time also was the 32nd fastest time of all time for the 15-16 age group.

In the contest for runner-up, Liam Bogart of Empire Swimming and Ryan Pirrung of Delaware Swim Team faced off. Bogart ultimately came out on top thanks to an aggressive backstroke leg, while Pirrung made a move during the breaststroke and freestyle. Bogart wrapped up his silver with a 2:09.20, and Pirrung enjoyed bronze with a 2:09.55.

In the women’s relay event, the 400 meter medley, Empire Swimming dominated the competition for the victory, thanks to a winning time of 4:19.87. The next closest finisher was Schenectady-Saratoga Swim Club, who posted a 4:21.13 to touch just ahead of Victor Swim Club. Victor claimed the bronze in 4:22.50.

On the men’s side, in the last event of the meet, North Penn Aquatic Club finished off its meet with a gold garnish. The team stopped the clock in 3:54.74, well ahead of the pack. Behind North Penn, Tide Swimming earned the silver with a 3:59.32. Bluefish Swim Club snagged third in 4:00.06.

Live Results are available at the link on the sidebar and on Meet Mobile under “2017 Futures Championships (Geneva, Ohio).” 

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Thomas A. Small
6 years ago


Swimming Pool Lovers
6 years ago


6 years ago

Summer Smith is a member of Bluefish Swim Club