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2017 Junior Nationals
2017 Summer Junior Nationals proved to be another benchmark achieved for Beach Cities Swimming.  We didn't send anyone to  LC Juniors last year and this year we had four athletes. We had 2 Girls and 2 Boys, all 16 years of age.  The time standards are incredibly difficult to achieve and a little tougher for boys. We left for Long Island, New York after some incredible meets leading up to our departure.  LAI, Sectionals, JO's one after the other, and then off to the Big Apple. The kids just kept getting better......it was awesome.
 
Upon our arrival to NY, we made our way to the pool for our first swim, shake off the long flight and then head to some authentic NY Italian food.  The next day was a (get adjusted to the time zone day), so we swam and then headed to an "escape room" activity.  Kids had a blast trying to solve the clues and escape the subway car.  Then it was time to get serious and think about racing the big dawgs.
 
Video review after the races provided by USA Swimming gave much needed guidance and perspective to our young ones.  Watching finals from the stands however, is a different perspective all together and little bit of a bummer but also a great learning experience.  Some of the competitors there were Jr. National Team Members and some were Junior World Championship Team Members, so we were in some good company.  To say this meet was "no joke" is an understatement.  
 
Alex Crisera  - led the brigade by scoring 50 points, swimming in 3 Championship finals and 2 Consolation finals.  Those 50 points landed BCS in 18th place out of 75 "scoring" teams on the girls side, and outscoring our nearest rivals NOVA, BREA, SOCAL and AQUAZOT.  
 
50 Free - 26.13 10th place and won the "B" final.
 
100 Free - Made the "A" final 56.2 and 5th place
 
200 Free - 2:03.9 drop of 1 
 
100 Back - 1:02.4 in the morning swim, had never been under  1:03 before.  In the "A" final, she dropped again going 1:01.8 in a photo finish race and getting 4th place.  The top 5 girls were 1:01s ranging from 1:01.2 to 1:01.8, such a great race. This is a full 2 seconds under last years' Olympic Trials time standard and may put her in the Top World 100 for 18 and Under swimmers.
 
200 Back - 2:15.5 in the AM, .5 off her best, but managing to get into the "A" final, her first "A" final. At these events you have to also set your wedge.  She jumped in the water and her dome cap fell off (crap happens right, and you need to deal and adjust on the fly). She threw her cap on the deck, set the wedge and added another .5 to her time.  This too, was under the Trials standard for last year. Good thing this race was on the first day.  She did rally and slam a great 100 free after that.
 
Kai Bathurst -  (newbie to the National scene) This guy did not make Winter Juniors in December (slower time standard), and  6 months later had qualified for Summer Juniors (tougher time standard), so it was a huge drop for him to get to this meet in the first place. It also meant he was going to have a hard time making a final swim.  
 
200 Fly - 2:06.2 second off his best and 41st place
 
100 Fly - 57.03 drop of .24. Solid swim, but was not to his liking at a meet of this nature. 65th place
 
200 Fly TT - Not satisfied with his preliminary swim on the first day of the meet, he swam it again and dropped a second, matching his cut time he entered with.
 
200 Free TT - 1:56.0, 1 second drop from his time at Sectionals.  Great swim for him.
 
Keiko Derikoletis - (another newbie to the National scene) She also did not make a Winter Jr cut and then  6 months later made her way to NY.
 
100 Fly - 1:03.5 and 69th place.  This was a second off her best that she established less than 2 weeks earlier and second time at  1:03.
 
200 Fly TT  - This did not go as planned......and we will leave it at that:)  First race nerves and racing out of the comfort zone played into this. 
 
100 Free TT - Solid swim, but not what she is capable of.  Powerhouse swimmer for sure, but needs a little more mind control.
 
Ike Shirakata - Ike swam his first Juniors in December, still relatively inexperienced swimming at this level.  An incredibly talented swimmer that needs to keep the "blinders on" when racing.  Great experiences all around for him, but will need to dial it in moving forward.  Ike brings this child like charisma to any situation and definitley kept us all in stitches with his "ikisms"
 
100 Breast - 1:05.7 right on his best time and 38th
 
200 Breast -  2:24.16 second off his best and 43rd
 
200 IM -  2:10 1.5 off his best and 56th
 
Many lessons taken away "watching the big guns maneuver their way through all things needed in fast swimming".  Those kinds of lessons we try to teach and we harp on, but until they see one of their idols/peers do what we have told them a 1000 times to do, or what is necassary to swim at that level......sometimes just doesn't land.  It lands at these meets.  In our nightly dinner recap, the kids would explain what they learned, what was hard or what they needed to change moving forward.  I hope they remember all these things in September:)
 
Thank you Kimberly Crisera for being a great chaperone, taxi driver and Mom to all.  Sure made my job easier knowing there is another set of eyes, ears and iron fist on things:)