Walsh, Berkoff Blast Bests, Dressel Goes 28.8 50 BR At Mel Zajac Day 3


2018 MEL ZAJAC JR. INTERNATIONAL

The third and final preliminary session from the Mel Zajac Jr. International meet in Vancouver saw some more impressive performances from the U.S. junior national team, along with Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Lochte in action in their final two events of the competition.

The U.S. juniors established a few more PBs this morning, including Zoie Hartman knocking half a second off her 50 breast to take the top seed in 32.17. Calgary’s Rachel Nicol (32.22) and Hartman’s teammate Ema Rajic (32.38) are close behind.

Gretchen Walsh and Katharine Berkoff both hit best times on Saturday morning, and did so again on Sunday. Walsh took the top seed in the women’s 100 free, clocking 55.50 to lower her PB of 56.12 from the 2017 U.S. Open. Mackenzie Padington, who has been on a tear here, qualified 2nd in 56.52, and Penny Oleksiak avoided a third straight freestyle B-final by taking 9th in 57.97 (10-person final).

Berkoff dropped her 100 back best by nearly a second in 1:00.69, qualifying 2nd behind teammate Isabelle Stadden (1:00.41). Phoebe Bacon (1:02.15) made it a 1-2-3 prelim for the U.S. juniors.

Dressel was in action in the men’s 50 breast and 100 free, taking 1st and 2nd overall respectively. In the 50 breast, he clocked in at 28.85, an official best time, though he opened his 100 breast at the 2015 Nationals in 28.53. Previously, he had been a 31.56 from back in 2012. Jake Foster (29.22) sits 2nd and Liam Johnston (29.27) is 3rd. After dropping over a second from prelims to the final yesterday in the 50 free, it will be interesting to see what kind of time Dressel can drop tonight. So far this year, five Americans have been sub-28.

In the 100 free he cruised to the 2nd seed in 50.68, following Olympic semi-finalist Yuri Kisil (50.07). Maxime Rooney (51.26) qualified for the final in 6th, while Lochte missed out on the A-final in 11th (51.95). He did qualify in the 100 back, where he negative split his way to the 5th spot in 57.63 (out in 29.43, back in 28.20). Clark Beach leads the field there in 56.21.

OTHER EVENTS

  • Canadian junior Bailey Herbet continued her sensational performance at the meet with the top seed in the women’s 200 fly, going 2:18.20 to come within four tenths of her PB. Oleksiak qualified 3rd overall in 2:19.00.
  • U.S. junior Gianluca Urlando leads the men’s event in 2:01.20, with Gator Mark Szaranek having one of his better prelim swims here for 2nd in 2:02.84.

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