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Few changes at the top on the first night of the 2011 Tom Dolan Invitational

By Bryan Flaherty
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On the opening night of the 2011 Tom Dolan Invitational, 12-year-old's Emily Meilus and Ariel Spektor kicked off timed finals by defending their top seeds in the 11-12 500 freestyle events at Maryland's Eppley Recreation Center. Spektor (Germantown Academy) dropped twelve seconds to finish in 5:04.98. Meilus (Curl-Burke) touched in 5:13.21.

Lea Gwennap raises up at the start of the girls 11-12 200 backstroke.

Lea Gwennap raises up at the start of the girls 11-12 200 backstroke.

Seeded first going into tonight, Sanjay Wijesekera (11) from RMSC went a personal best to remain in the top spot of the 11-12 200 backstroke in 2:08.56. Lea Gwennap, age 12, Curl-Burke, matched her seed time of 2:04.65 to win the girls event.

Sanjay Wijesekera cruises into the finish of the 11-12 boys 200 backstroke.

Sanjay Wijesekera cruises into the finish of the boys 11-12 200 backstroke.

The boys 1,000 held much of the same, the top two seeds remained unchanged in both the open and 13-14 events.

Brian Tsau (14) and Gregory Song (14) went one and two in the 13-14 1,000. Tsau won in a time of 9:25.91, with Song right behind with a time of 9:31.32. Both swim for Curl-Burke.

RMSC's Garrett Powell (17) broke the PVS record in the boys open 1,000, holding consistent splits to beat Tyler Harris (23) from Trojan Swim Club, in a time of 9:00.87. Harris finished second in 9:04.12.

On what was largely an uneventful night with little change between seed and final positions,

the girls mile saw the biggest changes in position and time.

17-year-old Kaitlin Jones (Quest Swimming) took second in the girls open 1,650 (17:02.24), dropping 22 seconds. Bailey Hall from NOVA took third (17:14.87). The biggest movers in the event were RMSC's Leah Hubert, who dropped 40 seconds to take fourth-place (17:16.35), and Kayla Iverson, also from Quest, who dropped 55 seconds to take fifth-place (17:17.50).

Despite losing her cap mid-race, 14-year-old star, Katie Ledecky (Curl-Burke), won the event. She finished the race in 16:24.20, over 50 yards ahead of teammate Megan Byrnes (14), who finished second overall, winning the 13-14 girls event in a time of 16:59.02.

Katie Ledecky races ahead in the 1,650 despite losing her swim cap (Bryan Flaherty/The Washington Post)

Katie Ledecky races ahead in the 1,650 despite losing her swim cap (Bryan Flaherty/The Washington Post)

Ledecky opened up a body length lead over the top heat of the event's timed final in the race's first 200 yards. She never let up, building a wide lead before losing her cap with over 500 yards left. Her split times barely slowed, remaining under 31 seconds per 50 for the entire race.

Ledecky is recovering from an illness that knocked her out of the 2011 Winter Nationals last weekend in Atlanta.

Curl-Burke swimmers placed first in five of the eight events on Thursday night, but local rival RMSC was able to place several swimmers highly behind Curl-Burke's winners.

Swimmers from out-of-town club teams Quest and North Carolina Aquatic also placed high on the first night of competition.

Prelims start Friday morning at 8:45 a.m. (13 & over) and 2:00 p.m. (12 & under). Finals will begin at 6:05 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For more information, click here.

To read more about the 2011 Tom Dolan, click here.

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For complete results, click here.


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6 Responses to “Few changes at the top on the first night of the 2011 Tom Dolan Invitational”

  1. Swim fan says:

    The first place finish in boys 11-12 500 free is not Devin Truong. His name is Ariel Spektor with 5:04.98. Big mistake.

  2. Bryan Flaherty says:

    Thanks swim fan. I have corrected the mistake!

  3. Bryan Flaherty says:

    After some consideration, we have decided to bring the discussion to a close and remove the comments regarding personal views on why individuals change club teams. While we always appreciate input from our readers, we do not want to detract from the great swimming taking place this weekend and the accomplishments of these young athletes. Thank you.

  4. don says:

    Terrific lead-off in the 4×200 relay by Conger last night. 1:35 low is an great time for a 17 year old.

  5. NovaSwimCoach says:

    Not to mention his 20.37 to lead off the 200 free relay. Crazy that he could end up under 20 before he’s done with HS.

  6. NovaSwimCoach says:

    And now breaking 47 in 100 back. Wow!