By Meredith Roberts // Contributor | Thursday, December 8, 2016
The second night of racing for the East in Columbus, Ohio and the West in Texas Station, Texas offered a little something for everyone: 50 Free sprints, the 500 Frees for distance, all four strokes in the 200 IM and the 400 Medley Relay for relay aficionados.
Morgan Tankersley of Greater Tampa Swim Association set the tone of speed by winning the Girls 500 Free in the East by over two seconds (4:38.13). Second place finisher Madison Homovich clocked in at 4:40.90, but both swimmers were well ahead of the field by several body lengths. In the West, Gabrielle Kopenski had clear control of the race, beating the runner-up Taylor Ault by almost 4 seconds (4:37.94).
Drew Kibler, who broke the 15 -16 NAG record in the 200 leading off the 800 Free Relay last night at Juniors-East was back again to do damage to the record board. He dropped 8 seconds off his personal best to turn in a new NAG record of 4:15.36. In the West, it took a sub 4:20 to land on the podium with Patrick Callahan winning gold (4:19.07).
In the 200 IM Alexandra Walsh took the win for the ladies in Columbus and creeped close to a NAG record. She only just turned 15, so look for her to reel in that record. For the boys, Reece Whitley was able to power past Nicolas Albiero to secure the lead by almost two seconds and go 1:43.93.
For the ladies 50 Free in the East and the West, it took a low 22 to place top three. It was record speed for Kate Douglass of Westchester Aquatic Club in the East. Her winning time of 22.04 ties with Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel’s NAG record.
In a show of Ledecky-like versatility, Drew Kibler, fresh off his 500 win was able to also snag victory in the 50 free (19.70). Standout Ryan Hoffer absolutely dominated the 50 Free in the West. In a race that is typically so tight that you have to check the scoreboard to see what happened, he won by over a second. He had already had a blistering morning swim of 18.88, but he was able to shave off even more time at finals to go a 18.71. He’s now only .04 off of Olympian Caeleb Dressel’s unbelievable NAG record. Look for him to go for it by leading off the 200 Free Relay for Scottsdale.
In the 400 Medley Relay, the girls of the West were the standouts. The Fort Collins Area Swim Team of Bayley Stewart (53.97), Zoe Bartel (59.19), Coleen Gillilan (52.72) and Kylee Alons (49.24) won by over 4 seconds with a time of 3:35.19. This is the relay’s second gold of the meet since they also won the 200 Medley last night. The Scottsdale men with Ryan Hoffer (46.51), Sean Gage (55.32), David Hudson (48.65) and Jack Blake (44.35) earned their 3rd relay gold of the meet in 3:14.83. In the East, Bolles School was back for another win with the fastest time at both meets. Matthew Serra (49.48), James Daugherty (53.85), Ariel Spektor (47.07) and Willie Davis(43.50) smoked the field in 3:13.90 with an almost 4 second lead.
It’s only the second night of competition and we’re already seeing incredible speed out of these swimmers. It will be exciting to see what day 3 of racing has in store.