13-year-old Byrnes earns first Trials cut at Virginia States LC Championships

13-year-old Byrnes earns first Trials cut at Virginia States LC Championships

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Megan Byrnes (top) races 2012 All-Met Kristina Li in the women's 200-meter backstroke at the Virginia States Long Course Championships in Oakton, Va. (Michael Ledecky)

The cheers from the typically hushed crowd at the Oak Marr RECenter crescendoed into a roar as the scoreboard flashed “2:17.99.”  Megan Byrnes had touched first in the women's open 200-meter backstroke, achieving her first Olympic Trials qualifying time in dramatic fashion on the final day of the Virginia States Long Course Championships in Oakton, Va., Sunday evening.

“I couldn't believe it,” said Byrnes. “I was so excited.”

The 13-year-old Curl-Burke swimmer swam a controlled first 100 meters with a 1:07 split at the midway point and finished with a strong and even back half to win the event in 2 minutes 17.99 seconds — tying the Olympic Trials standard to the very hundredth of a second. On the slippery pool deck, swimmers jumped up and down, and even officials pumped their fists in the humid air.

“It's just amazing when someone sets their mind to do something, and she really wanted to do it,” said Curl-Burke senior coach John Flanagan.  “She does it right to the hundredth of a second, and that is really amazing.”

Byrnes is currently Potomac Valley's youngest qualifier for U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, which will be held June 25-July 2. Her qualification is a first for long-time age group coach Marilyn Mangels. Eight of Mangels's former swimmers will represent Curl-Burke in Omaha, but Byrnes will be her first current swimmer to compete at Trials.

“Marilyn is an awesome coach. I love her so much,” Byrnes said. “I just wish she could have been here.” 

Mangels was unable to attend the last session of the meet due to family commitments, said Flanagan.

Byrnes will attempt to qualify for Trials in the 400 and 800 freestyle events at the NBAC Long Course Championships this June. In the meantime, she looks forward to competing at the next level.

“I'm super nervous,” said Byrnes. “But it's going to be fun. It's going to be a good experience.”

In the evening's other canadian pharmacy cialis pfizer races, former Mangels swimmer Janet Hu, the 2012 All-Met Swimmer of the Year, achieved her seventh and eighth Trials cuts on the final day of competition, with first-place efforts in the women's open 200 individual medley (2:17.47) and 100 freestyle (56.66).  In addition, University of Maryland junior Megan Lafferty earned her third Trials cut in the 100 freestyle (57.05), and Nic Graesser of Upper Main Line YMCA qualified to swim the 100 backstroke in Omaha with a split in the men's open 200 backstroke final.

During the 12 & under timed finals, Cassidy Bayer challenged the National Age Group record in the 200 butterfly, touching in 1.34 seconds behind Courtney Kalisz's 2003 mark of 2:19.32. Bayer also won the 11-12 girls' 200 individual medley in 2:29.25. The previous day, Bayer came close to breaking the 100 butterfly NAG record as well.