Local swimmers excel at YMCA nationals
Updated 10:16 am, Thursday, April 10, 2014
Westport resident and Wilton Wahoos swimmer Ian Rainey had a meet to remember at the YMCA Short Course National Championship in Greensboro, N.C. last week.
Rainey took first in 1000 yard freestyle (9:05.31) and the 500 freestyle (4:25.85) to help Wilton (389 points) finish first in the men's division. Led by Jonathan Blansfield, the Westport Weston Family Y Water Rats team finished sixth in the men's division (181) and 11th overall.
"We had a tremendous meet in Greensboro," Water Rats coach Ellen Johnston said. "When the teams you are competing against have two to three times the number of swimmers on their squads, our results are extremely impressive."
Rainey finished second in 400 individual medley with a time of 3:46.81. He finished 0.01 seconds behind Wilton teammate Maxwell Dolan (3:46.81). Both times bested the previous national record.
"(Rainey) pretty much lived up to the expectations that everyone had," Wahoos coach Matt Hall said. "He broke three team records; he probably was the highest individual point's getter of the meet."
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Rainey swam a leg in the 800 yard freestyle relay team that finished second (6:40.14).
Rainey finished the meet with a second in the 1650 yard freestyle (15:12.60), the swimming mile. The event is one of the most grueling, according to Hall.
"You have to be mentally committed and prepared to doing the race," Hall said. "It takes a year to full prepare for a great mile. We started training in September and it led to this meet. He dropped 29 seconds from his best time."
Blansfield finished ninth (15:48.76) in the 1650 freestyle while Dan Williams finished 14th (16:11.31) for the Water Rats. Blansfield also finished second in the 1000 freestyle (9:09.64) and the 500 freestyle (4:27.05).
Bryce Keblish finished third in the 100 butterfly (48.70). The 200 freestyle relay team of Keblish, Tom Gannon, Jake Hoin, and Justin Summers finished sixth (1:23.18). Keblish finished seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:38.81). The 200 medley relay team of John Whiteside, Gannon, Kehlibsh and Summers finished sixth (1:32.80).
Swimming for the Wahoos, Westport's Verity Abel had a busy weekend, swimming a leg in the 200 yard freestyle relay that came home 13th. Abel finished 11th in the 1000 yard freestyle (10:00.28) and fifth in the 400 yard individual medley (4:20.41). Abel swam a leg in the 10th place finishing 800 yard freestyle relay and a leg in the 10th place finishing 400 yard freestyle relay.
"(Abel) was great," Hall said. "She suffered from a little virus a week and a half ago. She scored as many points as she could for the team and swam strong."
Abel also finished fifth in the 1650 freestyle 16:39.13.