By Amy Padilla//Contributor | Thursday, December 12, 2019
The young swimmers competing at the 2019 Speedo Winter Junior Championships East got off to an explosive start on day 1 of the four-day-event at the Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center in Atlanta. The championships will conclude on Dec. 14 with day 4 of the finals.
The meet began with the Women’s 200 medley relay, with the athletes battling it out during each leg of the race. During the fastest heat, Ellie Waldrep from Baylor Swim Club pulled ahead in the backstroke leg, giving her team a slight advantage. Alicia Henry then surged forward in the breaststroke, helping Dynamo Swim Club get a slight lead. Yet, it was Tristen Ulett’s outstanding butterfly split that really set Dynamo apart from the rest of the teams during the race. Peyton Curry also raced incredibly strong in the freestyle, helping her relay finish with a time of 1:40.03.
The fastest heat of the Men’s 200 medley relay started off with extra long under waters during the backstroke, which helped Carmel Swim Club and SwimMAC Carolina surge ahead on the first leg. Carmel Swim Club’s Ryan Malicki and Stephen Kim of SwimMAC Carolina were almost neck-and-neck during the breaststroke. Carmel continued to stay in front with Griffin Hadley’s powerful butterfly stroke along with Jake Mitchell’s breathless freestyle, giving the team a final time of 1:28.66.
The Women’s 800 free relay showed off the mid-range sprinters’ talent as they competed against the other junior fastest athletes in the country. Dynamo Swim Club led the top heat with Ulett during the first stint, pushing ahead the rest of the swimmers. SwimMac Carolina’s Kiley Wilhelm then took over the lead in the second leg, pushing ahead of Curry. The two teams continued to fight for first place, until Morgan Razewski and Kensley Merritt from SwimMac helped them achieve a victory. SwimMac finished with a time of 7:12.97.
Throughout the Men’s 800 free relay, the swimmers were determined to prove their skills in the water against the competition. To start off, Tim Connery of SwimAtlanta had a significant lead for first in the initial leg of the fastest heat. Ike Atkinson from SwimMAC caught up and took over during the third leg, putting his team in the forefront. On the last part of the race, however, Mitchell from Carmel Swim Club again showed his swimming prowess by coming out of nowhere to jump ahead of the other two teams and helping his team achieve a win in a meet record time of 6:23.21.
Check in with USASwimming.org tomorrow to watch day 2 of the prelims at 9 a.m. Eastern.
The nation’s top young swimmers are proving that age is nothing but a number at this year’s 2019 Speedo Junior Nationals West, with many of the athletes already having next year’s 2020 Olympics in their sights. Day 1 has kicked off at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington and will continue until Dec. 14.
The Women’s 200 free relay featured the fastest sprinters as they showed off their swimming prowess during the race. Greer Pattison of Scottsdale Aquatics powered ahead of the other teams in the first leg of the top heat. Emma Weber of the Denver Hilltoppers shot forward amidst the breaststroke, putting her team right next to Sadie Edwards of Scottsdale.
The two teams continued to combat for the win with Scottsdale’s Morgan Brophy and Denver’s Holley Dennis too close to call on the butterfly stint. Ashley Strouse just barely grabbed the win for Scottsdale over Denver’s Anna Shaw, slamming hard into the wall. Scottsdale finished first with a time of 1:40.03, with Denver just behind them at 1:40.11
Next was the Men’s 200 free relay, which included Nova Aquatics, Scottsdale, Denver Hilltoppers, Rose Bowl Aquatics, Sierra Marlins, Bellevue Club, Nitro Swimming, and Premier Aquatics in the fastest heat. In the backstroke leg, Ronald Dalmacio from Rose Bowl Aquatics gained the lead ahead of the pack. The team lost their advantage to Bellevue’s Ethan Dang for the breaststroke segment.
Rose Bowl swimmer Danny Syrkin powered forward to regain the lead during the butterfly, with Sierra Marlins following at a close second. Rafael Gu finished the freestyle hard for Rose Bowl, helping them claim a win with a time of 1:29.21. Even though Bellevue finished second in the fastest heat, Peak Swimming was second overall at 1:29.35. Bellevue achieved third at 1:29.65.
The Women’s 800 free relay followed shortly after with Ella Ristic of Irvine Novaquatics surging ahead of the competition in the top heat. Sam Baron from Bellevue followed closely behind in second, striving for the win. On the last leg, Ashley Strouse of Scottsdale propelled in front from several body lengths behind to achieve the victory for her team at 7:16.19. Novaquatics came in second with 7:18.18, followed by Bellevue at 7:18.36.
The fastest heat of the Men’s 800 free relay proved to be an exciting race. Lukas Miller from Elevation Athletics gained the first lead of the event. Pierce Bigelow, Max Kreidl, and Harrison Lierz finished strong to win the heat with a time of 6:35.75. Yet, the Rose Bowl Aquatics relay consisting of Gu, Dalmacio, Chris O’Grady and Syrkin claimed first overall with a time of 6:35.67.
Check in with USASwimming.org tomorrow to watch day 2 of the prelims at 9 a.m. Pacific.