With clear skies and large crowds lining the 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, nine records were broken at the 2011 MCSL Coaches Long Course meet at Rockville Swim Center. The USA Swimming-sanctioned summer league meet allows for fast times to count for elite qualifying events — including the U.S. Olympic Trials. MCSL invites the top eight swimmers in each event to swim long course, and doubles the length of each typical MCSL race. Brothers Darius and Devin Truong, 14-year-old Katie Ledecky, and 18-year-old Elizabeth Pepper were part of the record-breaking night.
Katie Ledecky of Palisades Swim Club dominated, winning two events, smashing two records and achieving an Olympic Trial cut time. In two anticipated races against Caroline McTaggart of Chevy Chase Recreation in both the 13-14 100 free and 100 fly, Ledecky broke her own 100 freestyle record in a time of 56.86, a full four-tenths under the 2012 Olympic Trial standards. McTaggart also beat the record but finished second in a 57.93.
Later that night, Ledecky broke Kelly Davies’ 28-year-old record in the 13-14 100 fly, finishing three seconds in front of the field. She finished with a time of 1:04.17, a second under the longest standing record at Coaches Long Course.
Ledecky was not the only swimmer to make an Olympic Trials cut. Elizabeth Pepper of Poolesville tied the 200 freestyle Olympic Trials standard to the hundredth. Going a 2:03.19, she broke her own 15-18 200 freestyle record by a full second.
“It was the highlight of my day. I don’t think I could have planned it any better!” Pepper said.
She also won the 15-18 100 fly in a time of 1:02.92. This was her last Coaches Long Course of her MCSL career and her first ever double win. “It’s kind of bittersweet. I’m sad that it’s the end but, at the same time, I’m kind of ready to move on,” said Pepper. “It was a great way to end the meet.”
Bethesda’s Leah Kannan won the 8 and Under 50 breast in an uncontested race, beating her field by 6 seconds but missing her own sister’s record by only one one-hundredth. “I really actually wanted her to get my record,” said Sarah Kannan, who placed second in the 13-14 100 breaststroke and 200 IM. “I was cheering really hard for her.”
Yesterday’s meet was just the first stop in a long haul of swims stretching over the weekend. Ledecky will be swimming in the upcoming PVS Senior Championships at the University of Maryland, where Thursday she swims the mile. “I try to think of it as one meet, with one day of rest in between,” she said. “I take it one swim at a time.”
Swimming an Olympic cut time at any point is no small feat. But, for both Ledecky and Pepper, their times from Coaches Long Course are an indication of good things to come. Both girls were not tapered for the meet. “I think this sets me up well for Senior Champs, and I can reevaluate things after Senior Champs and get ready for Junior Nationals,” said Ledecky on her overall performance at Coaches. “I am very happy with my swims today.”
Other double winners include Flower Valley’s Sarah Haase in the 15-18 200 IM and 200 Breast, Darnestown’s Jaycee Yegher in the 11-12 200 IM and 100 breast, Calverton’s Claire Ryland in the 8 & Under 50 free and 50 fly, and Tilden Woods‘ Natsumi Horikawa in the 13-14 200 IM and 100 back.
Rachel Daneggar of Little Falls also broke the 9-10 50 breaststroke record, finishing in a time of 37.97.
– By Danielle Schulkin
One family accounted for one-third of the records set at the 2011 Coaches’ Long Course meet. Brothers Darius (8) and Devin Truong (12) of Rockville went undefeated on the night, setting league marks in three of their four events.
Devin lowered the 12 & Under 200-meter I.M. record by 6.25 seconds, the largest record-breaking margin for any event at the meet in at least twelve years, with a time of 2:22.56. He also won the 11-12 100-meter breaststroke.
Darius swam to league records in the 8 & Under 50-meter breaststroke (44.05) and butterfly (36.87). “I was never really able to set records when I was younger,” said Devin, “so when I see Darius set all these records that I had wanted to set, it feels different, but good.”
Timmy Ellett (10) also earned the distinction as a double record breaker, winning the 100-meter freestyle in 1:05.65 and the 50-meter butterfly in 32.09. In addition to Ellett and the Truongs, Grant Goddard (Palisades), Matt Thomas (Manor Woods) and Andrew Gibson (Westleigh) swept their events.
Andrew Gibson, 14, held his first-place seed in the 13-14 boys’ 100-meter backstroke, but he won the 200 I.M. from an outside lane. “The backstroke was the key length in the I.M. for me,” said Gibson. “There were some great breaststrokers in the race, so I tried to take a big lead early and hold them off.”
Gibson was referring to breaststrokers Carsten Vissering (Old Georgetown), 14, and Gregory Song (Darnestown), 14, who both powered through the 13-14 boys’ 100-meter breaststroke record later in the evening. Vissering captured the event in 1:08.41, breaking the record by more than two seconds, while Song stopped the clock at 1:09.78. “I knew I had to go all out right from the start,” said Vissering. “My wrists were burning as soon as I finished.”
The 15-18 men’s 200 I.M. provided one of the most dramatic races of the day. Turning at the last wall from breaststroke to freestyle, Seven Locks‘s Serge Gould, 18, trailed Rock Creek‘s Jonathan Ekstrom, 17. But Gould overtook Ekstrom in the final 15 meters to win the race by .08 of a second. “Three quarters or half way down the last length, I was thinking it’s my last year and that I ought to put it down and give everything I had left,” said Gould. Both Ekstrom and Gould finished within a second of the 1986 record set by Olympic gold medalist Mike Barrowman.
Matt Thomas, 18, of Manor Woods set the only male 15-18 record, besting Brady Fox’s 2009 record in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:53.85. Thomas will graduate from MCSL competition with two Coaches Long Course records. Grant Goddard, 14, finished .07 seconds short of Thomas’s 13-14 100-meter freestyle mark.
While the 2011 Coaches Long Course Invitational served as a competitive, championship-level meet, it also offered its share of summer league spirit. Adrien Downey, 17, of Northwest Branch spray-painted his entire body blue before swimming the 15-18 200-meter breaststroke. Downey had employed a similar camouflage strategy when he won the same event in 2010. This year, looking like a character from the film “Avatar,” Downey came in second to Rockville‘s Michael Fu.
– By Michael Ledecky
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