March 27, 2018
Nine members of GPAC’s senior teams traveled to Orlando to compete in the National Club Swimming Association’s (NCSA) Junior Nationals March 13-17. This was the largest team GPAC has qualified for this meet in over five years.
“This was a great and beneficial experience for these swimmers at this level,” said head coach Phil Kraus. “This meet is very high-profile in the level of competition and in that college coaches use this meet to recruit swimmers.”
With over 1500 swimmers this is the largest, deepest and most competitive meet these nine swimmers have been a part of and over the five day meet they showed a lot of grit walking away with 15 new lifetime bests a team record and an experience that will be invaluable in their swimming advancement.
GPAC’s 400-yd medley relay of Walker Parra, Nevada Wood, Coulson Barfield and William Henderson set a new team record, erasing the old mark from 1991. The boys’ 800-yd freestyle relay team as well as the 200-yd medley relay teams both narrowly missed reestablishing team records.
James Tracey, 16, dropped nearly 9 seconds in his 1,650-yd freestyle for the Southeastern Championships 3 weeks prior to earn a new ‘AAAA’ time and is now qualified to join Makayla Ludwick, 16, and Maren Mackey, 14, at the Open Water Junior Nationals in Arizona in May.
Other big time drops came from AJ Luth in the 200-yd Breaststroke as she shaved 2.68 seconds from her previous best. Likewise, Cali Wilson improved upon her best in the 200-yd Breaststroke, set at this year’s Southeastern Swimming Championship by 2.39 seconds bringing her total time dropped this season to an incredible 17.1 seconds. Walker Parra chimed in with a 3.77 second drop in the 400-yd Individual Medley.
This meet signifies the last short course yard meet for seniors Coulson Barfield, Nevada Wood and AJ Luth and their contributions and leadership will be missed. GPAC expects to see Juniors; Walker Parra, Makayla Ludwick and Cali Wilson lead the way next year with Sophomores; Renee Henderson, William Henderson and James Tracey stepping up as well.