Tuesday, June 8, 2021
15 More Athletes Advance to Wave II Olympic Trials on Final Night of Wave I Competition
First or second, it was 15-year-old Gracie Weyant’s goal in the 200 breaststroke during Wave I Olympic Trials - Swimming Monday night to join older sister and U.S. National Team member, Emma, in next week’s Wave II competition.
With her personal-best time of 2:31.10, she not only won the event but will get to stick around for another week and live her dream. Abigail Herscu finished second in 2:31.53.
“This morning I think my first hundred was OK, I just needed to hit my line a little bit better because I have a longer stroke,” said Weyant, the youngest competitor in Monday’s final. “That was definitely my goal, to swim with my sister.”
Weyant not only joins her sister next week but she will also see some familiar faces as 15 other athletes earned a spot in Wave II by virtue of first and second places Monday night.
Joining Weyant as the winner of the men’s 200 breast was Alec Cullen, who edged Jakob Frick 2:14.38 to 2:14.40. Both times were personal-bests.
Kate McCarville, who won the 400 individual medley Saturday night, added a second race in Wave II with a winning time of 2:15.09 in the 200 IM. Ella Bathurst was a close second in 2:15.69.
In the men’s 200 IM, Tristan DeWitt went from second to first on the breaststroke leg and held on over the final 50-plus meters to win in 2:02.03. Close by in second was Spencer Aurnou-Rhees, who finished in 2:02.43.
“I had a pretty disappointing college season, and so I ever since Big Tens, I’ve just been building off it, training every day with that focus in mind that I really am done losing,” said DeWitt, who completed his freshman season at Indiana this spring. “That combined with having a bunch of fun, it’s a deadly duo.”
Both 50 freestyle races saw first-time winners in Wave I, as Missy Cundiff of Tribe Aquatics and William & Mary swam a personal-best 25.46, while Houston Bridge Bats' Jack Armstrong came home for first in 22.55.
“I came into Trials thinking this was just going to be an experience, I didn’t even think I was going to final,” Cundiff said. “When you approach the 50, you can drop time or you can gain time. It’s just such a cyclical event. And I thought my 25.95 (this morning) was kind of my best time. I just tried to have fun.”
Camille Spink, Friday night’s winner of the 100 free from Nation's Capital Swim Club, tied with 15-year-old StreamLine Aquatics Club athlete, Anna Moesch – the youngest in the field – in 25.54 for the second spot in Wave II competition. Northern Lights Swimming Association's Eric Anderson was the men’s runner-up in 22.57 to move into next week’s competition.
“For the 100 free, I was only in the B final, but we did get to walk out of the tunnel, so that was neat,” Armstrong said. “It helped me get my first race out of the way. And from walking into the 50, I knew this was my last opportunity to qualify for Wave II, and being the procrastinator that I am, I got the job done.”
Even though she lost count of where she was in the race until she heard the bell, Kristin Cornish (Badger Swim Club) led from early in the race to win the 1500 freestyle. Her time of 16:42.63 beat Club Husker's Audrey Coffey by almost 7 seconds.
During her race, to keep her pacing, Cornish said she sang Taylor Swift’s “I Did Something Bad,’ in her head – but obviously, the result was something very good.
“I swam the 800 Friday, and I pretty did everything wrong for the 800,” Cornish said. “So I had that behind me. I dove in, and I was so tense and so tight and I was so nervous that I could barely breathe every time I turned to the side.
“Every time I saw that. U.S. Olympic Trials Team USA at the side of the pool, I got so tense and so nervous that my stroke really shortened up. And it was overall choppy and wasn’t a good race for me (the 800). So I just tried to learn from that and correct everything I did wrong in the mile.”
In the final race of the evening, 17-year-old Joshua Brown (Highlander Aquatic Club) came on strong over the final 100 meters to surge past NC State's Owen Lloyd for the victory in the 1500 free. Brown recorded a time of 15:35.94 to beat Lloyd’s mark of 15:36.24.
“It’s really been tough training, keeping my nerves down; I’ve really been nervous this whole meet as this is my first meet out of state, so really trying to keep the environment high, the energy high,” said Brown, who competed in his first out-of-state meet at Wave I trials. “Having all of these competitors here today helped execute race strategy.”
Wave II Olympic Trials – Swimming begins Sunday, June 13.
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