There is fast, and then there is really fast. And on Monday night at junior nationals, Andrew Seliskar was the latter.
Seliskar, a two-time All-Met out of Nation's Capital Swim Club, set a meet record and earned himself a spot on the world junior championships team in his first finals appearance of the five-day championship meet in Irvine, California.
Seliskar touched first in the men's 200-meter butterfly in 1 minute, 56.54 seconds to set a meet record. It was the fastest time by an 18 and under swimmer this year and good enough for 21st in the world.
“I was really happy with the swim,” Seliskar said by phone shortly after his record-setting performance. “I was surprised at how good I felt in prelims. I was shooting for the record after that.”
The 16-year-old stand out — ranked no. 1 in the class of 2015 by CollegeSwimming.com – trailed Justin Lynch (Vallejo, Calif.) for the first 100 meters, before surging into the lead with a 59.92 back-100 to steal the race. Lynch touched second in 1:57.80. Justin Wright (Fresno, Calif.) was third in 1:58.21. Seliskar's time beat Kyle Whitaker's meet record of 1:56.95, set in 2009, by .41 seconds.
The swim earns Seliskar a place on the junior national team heading to Dubai, United Arab Emirates later this month to compete at the FINA world junior championships.
“It feels great [to make the team],” Seliskar said. “I feel a lot more relaxed heading into the rest my events. No matter what I do now, I'm on the team.”
He needed to be top two in an event based on times from U.S. Nationals, U.S. Open, or this meet to earn his place on the worlds roster. He left nothing to chance on Monday night, registering the third fastest time by an American this year behind national team members Tom Luchsinger and Tyler Clary.
Seliskar now turns his attention to his remaining schedule of six events over the next four days — the 100 and 200 freestyle events, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, and 200 and 400 individual medleys.
“We're more rested for this meet than we were at world trials,” Seliskar said. “In [Indianapolis], I was dying after 300 meters in my 400 IM. I definitely think I can bring it home faster this week.”
Seliskar is a likely challenger for first in all but the two freestyle events where he hopes he hopes to move up into the top four to earn a relay spot in the 4×100 and 4×200 free relays. On Tuesday, Seliskar swims the 400 IM and 100 freestyle prelims. Events begin at noon ET and can be viewed online at USAswimming.org.
Other local finalists:
Carsten Vissering (NCAP) finished fourth in the men's 200 breaststroke in 2:16.57. Vissering, 16, entered the meet as the second seed with hopes of joining Seliskar on the worlds junior team. Unfortunately for the rising Georgetown Prep junior, his time from U.S. Nationals was eclipsed by Joseph Bentz (Atlanta, Ga.) who won the event in 2:12.88 — a new meet record — as well as Andrew Schuehler (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) and Nicolas Hatanaka (Loveland, Colo.) who touched in 2:14.03 and 2:15.82, respectively. Vissering still has a shot at making the 26-man roster in the 100 breaststroke where he is the top seed.
In the women's 800 freestyle, 13-year-old Isabella Rongione (The Fish) shaved another five seconds off her time to finished in 8:39.09. She finished third behind Becca Mann (Clearwater, Fla.) and Danielle Valley (Sarasota, Fla.) who finished first and second in 8:36.72 and 8:38.03, respectively. Mann, 15, returns from FINA world championships where she finished as the top American in the women's 10K open water event in eight place. Also in the 800 was NCAP's Megan Byrnes, 14, who finished 13th overall in 8:48.12.
NCAP's Brian Tsau, 16, led area-swimmers in the men's 1,500 freestyle, finishing 13th overall in 15.45.81. He was followed by Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club's Brady Welch, 17, in 15.47.29 (16th), NCAP's Gavin Springer, 16, in 15:48.95 (18th), and RMSC's Brennan Novak in 15:49.52 (20th).
Tags: 2013 Junior Nationals, Andrew Schuehler, Andrew Seliskar, Becca Mann, Brady Welch, Brennan Novak, Brian Tsau, Carsten Vissering, FISH, Gavin Springer, Isabella Rongione, Justin Wright, Megan Byrnes, Nation's Capital Swim Club, NCAP, Nicolas Hatanaka, Rebecca Mann, RMSC, Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club, The Fish