NCSA Junior Nationals: Rachel Bootsma Doubles Again To Close Meet; Kristen Vredeveld Sets National Age Group Record

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By David Rieder

ORLANDO, Florida, March 19. THE NCSA Junior Nationals closed out in Orlando tonight with Rachel Bootsma delivering another pair of wins with outstanding short course yards times. Kristen Vredeveld also provided an outstanding performance, beating the National Age Group record in the 15-16 girls' 50 free.

Aquajets' Bootsma obliterated the field in the 50 back, clocking 24.10. Blue Tide's Jillian Vitarius took second in 25.33, touching out Baylor's Arden Pitman, who hit the wall in 25.34. Bootsma returned later in the 200 IM for another victory. Ahead by more than four seconds at the halfway point, Bootsma held off Rockville Montgomery's Sarah Haase for the win, 1:58.16 to 1:59.91. These wins are Bootsma's fifth and sixth of the weekend. Nova of Virginia's Rebecca Rainer grabbed third in 2:00.77.

Baylor's Kristen Vredeveld added to her earlier wins in the 100 and 200 free by taking the top spot in the women's 50 free. Vredeveld clocked a blazing 22.17 for the win, dominating the field. Vredeveld's time is a 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record, beating the 22.24 previously held by Madeline Schaefer. First Colony teammates Madeline Locus and Simone Manuel grabbed second and third with respective times of 22.71 and 22.75, while Bootsma earned fifth in 23.04. New York Sharks' Stanley Wong grabbed a close win in the men's 50 free. Wong clocked 20.29, defeating Lakeview's Clay Youngquist, who posted a 20.33. New Trier's Stephen Wimmer finished third in 20.44.

Highlander's Michael Curley haulted Jack Conger's attempt to sweep the men's backstroke events. Curley clocked 22.79, while Rockville Montgomery's Conger posted a 22.85. Curl Burke's Phillip Hu came in third at 23.09. Blue Tide's Matthew Curby took the 200 IM in 1:47.37. YMCA Hub Fins' Tynan Stewart grabbed second in 1:48.27, and The Woodlands' Gray Umbach came in third at 1:48.93.

Curl Burke's Katie Ledecky swam to a dominant win in the 1650 free. Ledecky, 13, clocked a swift time of 16:07.33, while Waukesha's Jessica Wolf finished second in 16:04.04. The Woodlands' Kelsey Leneave backed up her win in the 500 free last night with a third place in the mile, clocking 16:19.38. Hinsdale's Daniel Thomson made it a sweep of the 500, 1000, and 1650 free races, with his win in the men's mile. Thomson broke 15:00 for that win, clocking 14:57.66. PASA's Adam Hinshaw finished second in 15:13.88, while Rockville Montgomery's James Powell ended up third in 15:18.70.

The Aquajets won the women's 400 medley relay. Bootsma led off with a 51.66 backstroke split, less than a second off her 50.76 winning time from last night's 100 back which moved her to third in the all-time rankings. Abigail Duncan, Elaine Boosalis, and Heather Arseth completed the relay team which clocked 3:39.21. Curl Burke's team of Kyle Tyrrell, Charles Katis, James Crabb, and Ryan Dunn took the men's 400 medley relay in 3:19.64. Kevin Cordes, the winner of the 50 and 100 breast, provided the fireworks for second-place Fox Valley, splitting 52.47 on the breaststroke leg.

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