Speedo Summer Championships: Charlie Swanson, JoJo Ramey Impressive in Greensboro

Charlie Swanson -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Speedo Summer Championships: Charlie Swanson, JoJo Ramey Impressive in Greensboro

It was a disappointing Olympic Trials for Michigan graduate Charlie Swanson, who was considered a contender to at least qualify for the final in the 400 IM. Swanson was 13th in the 400 IM, ninth in the 200 breaststroke and 18th in the 200 IM, but at the Speedo Summer Championships in Greensboro, N.C., the 23-year-old representing Club Wolverine put up a strong effort. Competing in the men’s 200 breaststroke final, Swanson away from 18-year-old Josh Matheny to win in 2:09.85, beating his lifetime best of 2:10.62 by almost a second. That inserted Matheny into the top 30 in the world in the event.

Matheny, representing Team Pittsburgh, finished an impressive fifth in the 100 breast at Trials, but the 200 breast is his best event, as he owns a lifetime best of 2:09.40, but Matheny ended up 20th in that race. In Greensboro, he put up a 2:12.72 for second, holding off Indiana’s Maxwell Reich (2:13.02).

In the very next event, 16-year-old JoJo Ramey of Fishers Area (Indiana) won the women’s 200 backstroke in 2:09.34. Ramey finished seventh in the event at Olympic Trials in a very impressive national-level debut, and she actually ranks 17th in the world (sixth among Americans) in 2:08.90. Club Wolverine’s Gabby DeLoof took second in 2:11.18, and Carmel’s Madelyn Christmas was third in 2:11.27.

In the men’s 200 backstroke, 24-year-old Sam Stewart swam a time of 1:59.52 to take the win by almost a second. Stewart took fifth in the 200 IM and eighth in the 400 IM at Olympic Trials, but he did not swim the 200 back, likely because that event occurred on the same day as the 200 IM. Indiana’s Jacob Steele took second in that race in 2:00.46, and Ohio State’s Thomas Watkins grabbed third in 2:01.07.

After Westchester’s Claire Weinstein held off Long Island’s Cavan Gormsen by a miniscule three hundredths in Tuesday’s 800 free, the finish repeated itself in the women’s 200 free. Weinstein, 14, won the race in 1:59.56, about a half-second ahead of the charging Gormsen, who touched in 2:00.06. Tampa Bay’s Summer Cardwell took third in 2:00.97. In an incredibly tight finish in the men’s 200 free, Indiana’s Brendan Burns held off SwimMAC Carolina’s Baylor Nelson by just one hundredth, 1:49.27 to 1:49.28. Nelson out-split Burns by a full second on the last 50, but Burns barely had enough to hang on.

Indiana’s Mackenzie Looze, daughter of Indiana head coach and U.S. Olympic assistant coach Ray Looze, dominated the women’s 200 breast with her time of 2:28.13, while Ohio State’s Josie Panitz took second in 2:31.77. Sofia Plaza was third in 2:33.43.

Long Island Aquatic Club captured first in the women’s 400 free relay in 3:43.59, with Tess Howley (55.80), Joanie Cash (57.45) and Gormsen (55.40) setting up anchor Chloe Stepanek, who split a swift 54.94.

The Speedo Summer Championships are taking place as 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.