Potomac Valley swimmers swam into the national spotlight on day one of the 2013 U.S. National Championship and World Championship Trials posting impressive finals performances alongside the likes of Nathan Adrian, Missy Franklin and the area's own Katie Ledecky.
Ledecky posted another impressive performance in the women's 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8 minutes 22.41 seconds. It wasn't quite the dominating swim many expected from Ledecky, who swam away from the field last summer to win gold in London, but it qualifies her for the world championships team and that's really all that matters. Ledecky has the 200 freestyle to focus on tomorrow, as well as the 400 and 1,500 freestyle events later in the week.
In the men's 200 butterfly, Nation's Capital's Andrew Seliskar moved up a spot from his finals seed to finish fifth overall in a time of 1:57.68. His morning swim of 1:58.35 was already a 2.28-second personal best for the rising Jefferson junior bringing his total drop in the event to a cool 2.95 seconds on Tuesday. At 16 years old, Seliskar is a member of the junior national team and is expected to travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to compete for the USA at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships, August 26-31. What events he'll swim is still yet to be determined, but the 200 butterfly is looking like a strong choice.
Also out of NCAP, Cassidy Bayer, 13, showed herself capable of hanging with the country's elite 18 and under swimmers with a first place finish in the “C” final of the women's 200 butterfly. Bayer settled into second place through the first 150 meters before using a blistering final length to run down second place finisher Ally Howe, 17, from Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics to win in a time of 2:11.44.
“She was very happy with her swim,” said Bayer's coach Paul Makin. “Her back half was the big improvement from the morning swim.”
The time was a 1.7-second improvement for Bayer out of Nation's Capital Swim Club and was good enough for the seventh fastest split during Tuesday night's finals. Bayer now sits fifth all time in the event in the 13-14 age group, yet still 4.33 seconds off the national age group record. That record is well within her grasp with the rest of this summer's long course season and all of next year's in the 13-14 age group. Bayer won't turn 15 until September 2014.
Bayer's summer top times
Jack Conger blasted a 49.44 in the men's 100 freestyle “C” final. He won his heat easily with the eighth fastest time of the finals session and was less than half a second off of Michael Phelps 17-18 NAG record in the event, set in 2004.
“He came up short off the wall, but built his tempo into a great finish,” said his coach Sue Chen.
According to Chen, Conger swam relaxed in what should be his first of several finals appearances this week. Conger is focused on making the World's team in the 200 backstroke on Wednesday night. He is currently the third seed.
Other area finishers: Michael Flach (South Carolina) finished sixth in the “B” final of the men's 200 fly in 1:59.98. The former FISH and O'Connell standout fell short of his personal best of 1:58.04. He hasn't hit the mark since the 2012 Olympic Trials semifinals — including during the finals at Trials. James Crabb (NCAP) finished fourth in the “C” final with a time of 2:02.54. Janet Hu, 16, finishes sixth in “C” final in 56.60. It was a .06 improvement from the morning swim, but .32 off her life-time best.
Day two prelims begin at 9am and can be viewed live online at USASwimming.org. Night finals begin at 6pm and will be aired live on Universal Sports. For live updates, follow @reachforthewall on Twitter.
For more information, see our day 1-2 preview of World Trials.
Tags: 2013 U.S. Nationals, 2013 World Trials, Andrew Seliskar, Cassidy Bayer, FISH, Jack Conger, James Crabb, Janet Hu, Machine Aquatics, Michael Flach, Nation's Capital Swim Club, NCAP, Potomac Valley Swimmers