A Big Day for Buckeye Swimming at the USA Swimming Speedo Sectionals
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first day of competition at the 2015 USA Swimming Speedo Sectional Meet, hosted by the Ohio State Swim Club, wrapped up Wednesday at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. With 850 swimmers in attendance, the meet serves as a combination of end of the season performance and a tune up for U.S. Nationals, Canadian Nationals and World Championships. Competition takes place July 22–25, with prelims scheduled for 9 a.m. and finals commencing at 5:30 p.m. each day.
There were a number of highlights for the Ohio State women’s swimming contingent during the first finals session.
Rising junior Lindsey Clary continued building on a progressive summer of swimming, dominating the 800 freestyle with a meet- and varsity-record time of 8:39.13. The time ranks in the Top 12 fastest times in the United States and is a U.S. Olympic Team Trials standard. It was also Clary’s first time posting under the 8:50 mark in the event. Teammate Erin Dunseith took the runner-up spot in 8:58.04, which was her personal-best time by more than 17 seconds.
It was a Scarlet and Gray sweep in the 200 backstroke event, with Camey Rabold, Kaitlyn Ferrara and Zulal Zeren earning first, second and third, respectively. All three Buckeyes were under the U.S. Olympic Trial cut. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Zeren will travel to Kazan, Russia, to compete at the 2015 FINA World Championships July 24-Aug. 9. Rabold had previously never been under 2:20 in the event.
Lifetime bests were also in order for Macie McNichols and Annie Jongekrijg. The pair achieved U.S. Olympic Trial standards in the 50 freestyle with times of 26.03 and 26.04, respectively. Overall, the Buckeyes have been continuously dropping times in the event, with Michelle Williams posting a 24.90 at the Pan American Games, Liz Li touching in 25.60 at Chinese Nationals and four more team members under 26.40 this summer.
The Buckeyes claimed two of the Top 3 spots in the 200 breaststroke, as Taylor Vargo took first with a sectional- and varsity-record time of 2:28.44. Vargo had never been under 2:33 before the meet. Amy Bopp followed with a U.S. Olympic Trail cut and personal-best time of 2:33.29, while Katie Antal put up a 2:36.41 after never dipping below 2:48 prior to the season.
The session ended with a bang. Ohio State’s quartet of Alex Norris, Lindsey Clary, Kathleen Cook and Sam Cheverton smashed the sectional record by eight seconds, registering a 8:09.84. Norris led off the event with a 2:00.90, which cleared the U.S. Olympic Trial cut. It was certainly a unique opportunity for the program, as the relay combined current team members with post-grad Buckeyes. Alex Norris is currently pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy while training for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. Sam Cheverton, a 2012 Olympian and member of the Canadian National Team, recently married former Ohio State record holder Justin Farra, who just earned his law degree from Ohio State.
On the day, the Buckeyes had eight different women record U.S. Olympic Trail standards in four different events. In 2012, Ohio State had the largest women’s team at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and sent two athletes from the swimming and diving program – Cheverton (Canada) and diver Katie Bell (USA) – to the 2012 London Olympic Games.