Speedo Summer Championships: Charlie Clark Swims 15:04 1500 Free in Greensboro; SwimMAC Sets NAG Relay Record

Charlie Clark -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Speedo Summer Championships: Charlie Clark Swims 15:04 1500 Free in Greensboro; SwimMAC Sets NAG Relay Record

The Speedo Summer Championships meets kicked off Tuesday with two meets taking place on opposite sides of the country. Half the swimmers are in Greensboro, N.C., while the other half are in Irvine, Calif. The meet replaces the standard end-of-summer championships for senior-level and junior-level athletes, with the two usual events combined due to typical low turnout when the meets are around the same time as the Olympic Games. Older swimmers and 18-and-under swimmers had different time standards required for qualification.

Most of the top American swimmers either just finished competing at the Olympics or are taking the summer off after narrowly missing the Olympic team. But a couple Olympic Trials finalists in the men’s 1500 freestyle went head-to-head and ended up posting dramatic improvements on their times from June’s Trials in Omaha, Neb. Ohio State’s Charlie Clark finished fifth in Omaha in 15:14.11, and he swam almost ten seconds faster with a 15:04.37 to win the event in Greensboro.

NC State’s Will Gallant, sixth in Omaha in 15:17.34, chopped off more than five seconds to take second in 15:11.79, and his teammate James Plage claimed third in 15:18.50. Plage did not qualify for the 1500 free final at Olympic Trials, but he did place seventh in the 800 free final.

SwimMAC’s Tim Connery put up an excellent performance in the men’s 100 free, taking first in 49.36, while his teammate Baylor Nelson and Indiana’s Brendan Burns tied for second in 49.86. Later, team of Connery (50.22), Logan Zucker (50.41), Cam Abaqueta (51.52) and Nelson (49.76) posted a 3:21.91 for the win in the men’s 400 free relay. That broke the 17-18 National Age Group record of 3:23.01 set in 2019 by the Dynamo team of eventual 2021 Olympian and gold medalist Brooks Curry, Cam Auerbach, Nicholas Goudie and Ian Grum.

In the women’s 200 fly, Trials semifinalist Leah Gingrich, 31, put up a 2:09.82. Gingrich, a former standout at the University of Texas, was finalist in the 200 fly and 800 free at the 2008 Olympic Trials, and she recently returned to the sport after a long layoff. Gingrich won the 200 fly over Long Island’s Tess Hawley, barely half Gingrich’s age at 16. Hawley touched in 2:10.13, and Planet Swim’s Sara Stotler was third in 2:12.33.

Meanwhile, Club Wolverine’s Gabby DeLoof edged Long Island’s Chloe Stepanek to win the women’s 100 free, 55.34 to 55.37. Ohio State’s Amy Fulmer was close behind in 55.41. DeLoof swam at the 2019 World Championships and narrowly missed the Olympic team in the 200 free as she finished seventh, 0.25 behind sixth-place finisher Brooke Forde. DeLoof’s younger sister Catie did qualify for the Olympics and took bronze as part of the U.S. women’s 400 free relay.

Badger’s Matthew Fenlon won the men’s 200 fly in 1:57.46, followed by Indiana’s Corey Gambardella (1:58.89) and Swim Atlanta’s Sebastien Sergile (1:59.63).

14-year-old Claire Weinstein of Westchester Aquatic Club dropped five seconds off her best time to win the women’s 800 free in 8:36.46, but she barely held off a last 50 charge from another New York native, Long Island’s Cavan Gormsen. Gormsen split 30.57 on the last 50, eight tenths faster than Weinstein, but she ended up just three hundredths behind at the finish. NC State’s Yara Hierath grabbed third in 8:41.42.