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PHILADELPHIA – Reece Whitley and Carsten Vissering had the 25-year-old meet record in the 100-yard breaststroke on their minds tonight at the Eastern Interscholastic championships. Both dipped under Nelson Diebel’s historic record of 54.35, but only one would carry the distinction of being the new record holder.
Vissering, representing Georgetown Preparatory School, took the race out hard, splitting 25.29 to Whitley’s 26.11. But Whitley took command in the final strokes and posted an amazing 28.46 to earn the win and the record with a 53.66. Vissering placed second with a 53.75. Diebel’s meet record had once stood as the national high school record, and he would go on to win the 100 breast at the 1992 Olympics.
Whitley and Vissering were not far off their lifetime bests. Whitley swam a 53.06 last December at the Tom Dolan Invitational, while Vissering’s best is 52.83 from last year’s NCSA junior nationals.
Video: Reece Whitley wins 100 breast
The men’s 100 breast was the only meet record set in the meet, though tonight’s competition provided plenty of fireworks on the road to team titles for Germantown Academy in the girls’ meet and Peddie School on the boys’ side. Germantown Academy won with 444 points, just ahead of Peddie’s 408. The Episcopal Academy rallied on the second day of competition to place third with 367 points to take over Mercersburg, which was fourth with 358 points.
Peddie could not be caught in the boys’ meet. After losing to Loyola Blakefield last year by 7.5 points, Peddie won by 161 points, scoring 455 to the 294 by The Haverford School.
The 400 free relays attempted to match the men’s 100 breast as the highlights of tonight’s competition. On paper, Germantown Academy appeared to have the win locked in the women’s relay, but Peddie had other plans. Peddie led Germantown on the first three legs, with anchor Emily Schoreder going into the water 1.3 seconds ahead of 100 free winner Shannon McKernan. A stellar 49.86 from McKernan was the key for Germantown to get the win, 3:28.94 to 3:29.84.
In the men’s relay, three teams were stroke for stroke in the final 25 yards, as The Hill School, Peddie and Georgetown Prep battled for the win. It was The Hill School that won with a 3:03.67 to back up the win in the 200 free relay on Friday. Georgetown Prep was a close second with a 3:03.71, while Peddie settled for third with a 3:04.06.
McKernan won that 100 freestyle to start the session with a 50.48, the only swim under 51 seconds. Val Yoshimura of Baldwin placed second with a 51.74, while Schroeder was third with a 51.94.
Germantown placed 1-2 in the women’s 500 freestyle. Madison Visco, making the move to the distance free after racing the 100 breast in previous years, took the race out hard, turning 1.5 seconds ahead of teammate Karlee Carminati at the halfway point. But Carminati turned on the afterburners in the second half and won with a 4:53.04 to Visco’s 4:55.40. Lilly Vivado of Milton Academy placed third with a 4:57.38.
The Germantown distance freestyle tradition continued with a win by freshman Andrew Abruzzo in the men’s 500 free. Abruzzo let Roman Horoszewski of Peddie lead for 250 yards, then even-split his race, 2:14.21-2:14.24, to win with a personal best 4:28.45. Matt Haigh of The Haverford School was also in the race, passing in the final 100 yards to place second with a 4:29.49, a personal best by a couple of tenths. Horoszewski faded to third with a 4:30.33.
One of the more dominating swims of the meet came in the women’s 100 backstroke, where sophomore Emma Seiberlich of The Episcopal School won by three seconds with a 55.40. Nika Blank of Peddie was second with a 58.47, and Payton Miles of The Hill School took third with a 59.12. In the men’s 100 back, Alex Boratto of The Haverford School broke 50 seconds twice today, posting a 49.97 in prelims and a 49.87 to win the final. Mercersburg’s Matt McPheters placed second with a 50.95, while Rob Lincoln of Lawrenceville placed third with a 51.27.
Peddie’s Laura Morley used a strong third 25 to help her win the women’s 100 breast with a 1:05.82. Sarah Baturka of The Episcopal School made a late surge but settled for second with a 1:06.21. McKenzie Street of Episcopal got third with a 1:07.10.