Before we begin the 2017 Long Course season, let’s look back on what was a highly successful 2016-2017 Short Course season.
The season began with Nicolas Ortega, Sarah Grinalds and Willow Woods breaking longstanding records at the Music City Invitational in December 2016. Nicolas broke Matthew Yacco’s 17-year old record in the 1650-yard freestyle in a time of 15:37.18 and Willow Woods broke Savitri Horrigan’s 7-year old record in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:05.57. Nicolas‘ time in the 1650 briefly became CT Resident Record for 15-16 year old boys, until Kieran Smith of Ridgefield broke it. Nicolas still has the CT Resident Record for 15-16 boys along with his teammates Dashiell Hunter, Austin Twiss, and Jack Gray in the 400 Medley Relay. The boys got the new record Nashville in a time of 3:35.17.
Later that same month, at the 2016 Speedo Winter Junior Championships, Sarah Grinalds set a new team record-breaking Emily Claire Fenn’s 16-year-old 500-yard freestyle record in a time of 4:49.66. Sarah also broke her own team records in the 100 -yard freestyle in a time of 50.11 and 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:46.76. Sarah’s 200-yard Freestyle time became the new CT Swimming 15-16 and Senior Resident Record.
At the recent CT Senior Short Course Championships in March at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, the Water Rats excelled. Jack Gray placed 1st for the Men’s High Point Scorers in Individual Events and Sarah Grinalds placed 3rd for the Women’s High Point Scorers in Individual Events. Sarah also broke an 18-year-old team record in the 15-18 Girls 1000 yard Freestyle in a time of 9:58.90. Sarah and her teammates Katie Thornton, Willow Woods, and Simona Visinski got the CT Record in the 200 yard Freestyle Relay in a time of 1:35.22.
Also in March, at the Connecticut Age Group Short Course Championships at Chelsea Piers, the Water Rats had 21 age group swimmers compete and a couple of them had team record-breaking swims. Caroline Begg kicked off the meet by breaking Tracy Green’s 36 year old team record in the 11/12 Girls 500 yard Free in a time of 5:18.78. Kate Murray then proceeded to break several other longstanding team records for the 9/10 year old Girls, including Laura Sheppard’s 27 year old record in the 50 yard Freestyle in a time of 27.14, Jennifer Kavanagh’s 25 year old record in the 100 yard Freestyle in a time of 1:00.54, and Marissa Healy’s 5 year old record in the 50 yard fly in a time of 29.08.
Caroline and Kate’s performances along with Annam Olasewere’s in the 50-yard Fly, earned them spots on the Connecticut Zone Team. They travelled to Webster, New York to compete at the Eastern Zone’s All Star Age Group meet from March 3-April 1, 2017. At the meet, Kate Murray continued her fast swimming by coming in first in the 9/10 Girls 50 yard Free, lowering her record breaking time by swimming a 26.88. Kate also came in fourth in the 9/10 Girls 100 yard Free in a time of 1:00.33, lowering her team record-breaking time of 1:00.54.
The season ended with the National Team attending the 2017 YMCA Short Course Nationals in Greensboro, NC from April 3-7, 2017. Sixteen Water Rat swimmers qualified this year for this prestigious meet, including John McNab, Richard Nolan, Jake Ritz, Jack Gray, Dashiell Hunter, Nicolas Ortega, Jacob West, Sean Paul Stolarski, Simona Visinski, Sarah Grinalds, Caroline Sargent, MacKenzie Healy, Kay Begg, Willow Woods, Michelle Kennedy and Katie Thornton.
All our qualifiers had an outstanding meet and in the process broke several team records as well as a CT Resident Records. Dashiell Hunter broke the team record in the 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:03.10. Nicolas Ortega broken his own new record in the 1650 in a time of 15:35.00. Sarah Grinalds broke her own 1000-yard record in a time of 9:53.94. Sarah also broke her own 50-yard Free record in a time of 22.72, 100-yard free record in a time of 48.85, 200-yard free record in a time of 1:45.51, and 500-yard Free record in a time of 4:47.04.
Sarah is now ranked 6th in the nation for the 100-yard Free and 8th in the nation for the 200-yard free for 15-16 year old girls. Sarah s 200-yard free time also broke her own CT Resident Record for 15-16 year old Girls and Seniors and she made the new 15-16 Girl’s CT Resident Record in the 100-yard free. And, her 100 and 200-yard free times qualified her for the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Trials in Indianapolis from June 27 – July 1, 2017.
In addition to individual records, the Girls 200 Free Relay team of Sarah Grinalds, Simona Visinski, Katie Thornton and Willow Woods made a new CT Resident Relay Record for Senior Girls in a time of 1:33.22. The girls placed 2nd at Y Nationals with that time.
Congratulations to all Water Rat swimmers for a great 2016-2017 Short Course Season and the best of luck in the 2017 Long Course Season.