Maxime Rooney and Benjamin Ho Steal Show at Speedo Far Western Champs

Event coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA

SAN JOSE, California, March 7. THE 2013 Speedo Far Western Championships wrapped up in style at the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center. Although the race of the night went to the duel between PEAK's Benjamin Ho and Pleasanton's Maxime Rooney in the boy's 13-14 400 IM, there were highlights across the board on the last night of finals.

For daily recaps, video interviews and on-demand races, visit the 2013 Speedo Far Western Championship landing page.

Ally Howe set the tone for the night when she set a new 17-18 meet record in the girl's 500 freestyle. Her 4:48.08 winning time was an impressive six seconds under Elizabeth Grant's 1980 meet record. Howe claimed another meet record in the girl's 17-18 200 IM later in the night at an impressive 2:00.39.

Aidan Burns put on a show in the boys 15-16 500 freestyle, consistently splitting a full second faster per 50 than his prelims swim. Boy's 15-16 individual high point winner Daichi Matsuda hung with Burns for most of the race, but faded towards the 300. The crowd eventually realized that Burns was on pace to beat Kevin Owen's 2010 meet record (4:29.95). He pulled out a 4:28.08 for the win, and then claimed his second win of the night in the 200 IM later in the evening.

Then came the boys 13-14 400IM with an epic match up between Pacific age group heavyweights Maxime Rooney and Benjamin Ho. Ho was the top seed going into finals, at a 4:09.40 to Rooney's 4:11.08. Rooney was nearly a second ahead of Ho after the butterfly, but Ho, the 200 backstroke NAG record holder, reclaimed the lead on the backstroke. The two went stroke-for-stoke in the breaststroke, then Rooney pulled out the win with a speedy 25.62 last 50 split, touching the wall at a 3:57.18 to Ho's 3:57.77. Both were under Nick Silverthorn's 2010 meet record (3:58.03). To put their times in perspective, 14-year-old Michael Phelps swam a 3:56.80 400IM, mere tenths faster than Rooney's final time.

Four meet records fell in the 50 freestyle, starting with the 11-12 girls. Sunn Swimming's Vivian shaved a hundredth of a second off the previous meet record with her 24.24 winning time. The following heat, Santa Clara's Nathan Yates took down the boys 11-12 meet record, winning the event with a 22.67. Benjamin Ho's 21.27 winning time snagged him the 13-14 boys meet record, while Andrew Liang's 20.90 did the same in the boy's 17-18 age group.

Rooney took his second title of the night in the boys 13-14 200 butterfly. Ahead from the start, Rooney was on pace to break the meet record from the first 50, when he split a 24.59. His splits were incredible throughout: 28.11, 28.65, 28.65 for a final 1:50.00 time that was a remarkable 2.85 seconds under Ugur Taner's meet record, set in 1989. This final Far Western title was enough to secure Rooney's high point status in the 13-14 boys category, at 73 points. Ho was a close second, at 71 points.

The final two meet records fell in the 200 freestyle relay. Three 11-12 boys relays were under the previous 1:40.02 mark, set in 2004 by DACA: NOVA (1:37.03), PLS (1:38.91) and DACA (1:39.66). Finishing off the night on a high note, the 10&U girls team from Scottsdale Aquatic Club (Ashley Strouse, Greer Pattison, Chloe Zapata and Leila Rosin) won with a 1:51.91 and a new meet record.

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