Mel Zajac Jr International Swim Meet - Meet Report

02 June 2018 (Vancouver, BC) - Well, it took them a day or so to get over it but after realizing that both 12-time Olympic Medalist and Olympic champion, Ryan Lochte, as well as 7-time world champion and 2-time Olympic gold medalist, Caeleb Dressel, were staying in the same hotel as they were the team got down to business. Not only did the swimmers we sent have to manage the celebrity sightings of some of the very best swimmers in the world they also had to manage various cooking, cleaning, shopping and meal planning duties all on their own. Some rose to the occasion in the kitchen and some will have to go back to cooking class but that is all a part of the process and a part of growing up. Our swimmers were also going into the meet unrested on the heals of the CSI: 2018 swim meet the weekend before where most swam a number of events. Our swimmers followed that meet up with some Monday training and right back into it on Tuesday and Wednesday as well with workouts between 6,000-7,000m - our athletes competed at Zajac under work.

Day 1 saw Alexander Pratt on fire in multiple events. First up for him was in the prelims were he got to go head to head with World Champion and Olympic Gold medalist, Caeleb Dressel, in the 200m freestyle with Caleb just out touching Pratt by 5/100ths! At night and in the very first event, the 800m freestyle, Alex grabbed the silver medal in 8:10.84. The splits, 4:08.3 / 4:02.5 (!!!!).

In the 200m backstroke young whipper-snapper Ella Varga was en pointe getting herself into the “A” final in 2:19.54. At night she moved up from 10th to 9th with a 2:19.38 swim - 32.9, 35.4, 35.8, 35.1. This is Ella’s first ever, truly, “senior” meet and she’s not showing any signs whatsoever of nerves.

In the boys 200m backstroke final Ryan Lochte scratched - to save himself for the 400IM coming up later in the evening. That was good news for little Cole Pratt as it bumped him up from the “B” final into the “A” of the backstroke. Cole put together solid splitting for his second fastest swim ever jumping up to 7th place from 10th in 2:03.73: 29.2, 31.5, 31.5, 31.3. What was interesting about this one was that Cole ,along with the two American Junior National team swimmers who he will be up against at the Jr Pan Pacs later this summer, all turned at the 150m mark, the last wall, within two-tenths of each other. In the movies they call this dramatic foreshadowing…

Up next for the night was Big Alex Pratt in the 200m freestyle event. In the morning we talked about how in the same heat as him Caeleb Dressel had just out touched Alex by 5/100ths of a second. At night Dressel took off all on his own dropping two seconds on his last 50 from his third going 25.4, 28.3, 28.4, 26.4 for a 1:48.73 win. Alex Pratt was 1:52.4 in the prelims and then 1:53.04 at night for 5th in the final - ahead of all the US junior team swimmers he will be up against later this summer at Jr Pan Pacs in Fiji.

In the 400IM Ryan Lochte, who, as we mentioned, scratched the 200 back final, crushed it at night taking 5 seconds off of the meet record to go 4:15.80. That is quite a swim for a 33 year-old athlete to put up and he won handily - by 7 seconds. Cole Pratt was swimming in his second final of the night was slightly faster than he was in the prelims at 4:34.09 for 9th overall in the “A” final.

Last event of the night was the 4x100 FR with Alex Pratt leading out in 51.99; Cole Pratt was second in 52.35; Sho Neilson was third in 54.54; Youssef Maksoud anchored in 54.11. Final time was 3:32.99 for a 5th place finish for the team overall.

What did day 2 bring for our intrepid west coast adventurers? Why, more of the same great racing!

In the 400m freestyle Alex Pratt had done a great job on his prelims swim getting down to 3:57.48. At night he ran out of steam a little bit and finished 7th with a 3:59.52.

Alex Butler got herself in to the “A” final with her 50m backstroke in the morning at 30.23 qualifying in 9th place overall. It was an incredibly tight field that saw a new meet record by almost a half-second from USA Jr Team Member, Isabel Stadden, in 28.17. Alex was 30.52 at night for 9th place overall in the final.

In the men’s 200IM Ryan Lochte crushed it again in 1:58.90. That was a new meet record breaking his own old one from 5 years-ago of 2:00.15 from 2013. Cole Pratt moved up from 10th to 8th with a 2:07.15 swim.

The big event for the team came with the 4x200 Free Relay for the boys. The team was up agains the USA National Jr Team, the Canadian National Jr Team and a slew of others from across the country. Alex Pratt led out in 1:53.99 which was followed by Cole Pratt in 1:55.67. She Neilson was the third leg and hot out a 1:57.92 before Youssef Maksoud anchored in 1:57.35. Final time for the team was 7:44.93 and in for the silver behind the US Jr team and ahead of the Canadian Junior Team - not bad for our Calgary crew!

The last day of the meet, Sunday night, saw Ryan Lochte even split 27.3/27.4 to even split a 54.75 win in the 100m backstroke while Cole Pratt moved up from 10th to 5th with his 57.00 swim.

The only other “A” final swim of the night came from the 4x100 Medley Relay where the Cascade boys managed to swim up to 5th with Stephen Hou on backstroke at 59.77; Mathew Ketchin on breaststroke in 1:09.12; Cole Pratt on butterfly in 56.40 and Alexander Pratt anchoring the freestyle in 52.18. Final time for the boys was 3:57.57 and solid in 5th place.

Final Team Scores

  1. USA National Jr Team 1255
  2. Canada Nation Jr Team  854
  3. UCSC 640.5
  4. UBC 625
  5. GATOR 384.5
  6. UNATT 362.5
  7. QUEBEC 338
  8. Bluefish 296.5
  9. Cascade 294
  10. Bolles Sharks 274

Other final swims day 1

200 Back Alex Butler C Final 22nd 2:22.56

Sho Neilson B Final 19th 2:11.04

Isak Nash C Final 24th 2:10.54

Stephen Hou C Final 25th 2:10.58

100 Breast Isabelle Roth C Final 15th 1:14.71

400IM Matthew Ketchin B Final 17th 4:39.96

50 Fly Alex Pratt B Final 18th 26.07

4x100 FR Cascade boys B Final 15th 3:44.99

Stephen Hou 55.87

Matthew Ketchin 56.31

Mathieu Cyr 56.56

Isak Nash 55.75

Other final swims day 2

100 Fly Cole Pratt B Final 12th 56.01

50 Back Ella Varga C Final 27th 31.37

Stephen Hou B Final 13th 27.79

Sho Neilson C Final 26th 28.49

200 IM Mathieu Cyr C Final 25th 2:12.59

Matthew Ketchin C Final 26th 2:13.23

50 Free Alex Butler C Final 28th 27.85

200 Breast Isabelle Roth B Final 13th 2:40.61

Matthew Ketchin C Final 23rd 2:28.97

Cole Pratt C Final 27th 2:30.87

Other final swims day 3

50 Breast Liz Harper C Final 21st 34.57

Isabelle Roth C Final 22nd 34.58

200 Fly Cole Pratt B Final 11th 2:04.31

Matthew Ketchin C Final 28th 2:13.15

100 Free Alex Pratt B Final 11th 50.94

100 Back Alex Butler B Final 18th 1:06.03

Ella Varga C Final 25th 1:06.23

Stephen Hou B Final 17th 59.71

Sho Neilson C Final 23rd 59.61

1500 Free Alex Katelnikoff B Final 11th 16:28.12

Youssef Maksoud C Final 28th 17:00.91

Mathew Ketchin C Final 29th 17:01.08

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