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GPAC takes 6th place at Southeastern Champs

A tremendous team effort lead the 35-member GPAC Southeastern team to its highest finish in over eight years, beating out all other teams from the Gulf Coast area to take sixth place in the 2018 Southeastern Swimming short course championships held in Huntsville, AL February 23-25.

“It was a great team effort and I think everyone knew that we could do better than our goal of a tenth place finish,” said head coach Phil Kraus. “This meet is very competitive, and I believe that many of the swimmers put together the best races they could to make sure the team was as successful as it was.”

Megan Corcoran led the way for GPAC by capturing five individual titles at the meet, earning her the high-point award for her age group. Corcoran, 12, was the first GPAC swimmers since Steffen Mount in 2015 to win five individual events at the Southeastern championships. Megan started the meet by winning the 200-yd freestyle handedly, rattling the team record from 1995, and then went on to win the 200-yd individual medley that night. The next day she won the 500-yd freestyle, this time setting a new team record, erasing the 23-year old mark and the 16th ranked swim nationally. Although she was bested in the 50-yd freestyle that evening, she swam another life-best time in the event, earning her a silver medal. Not to be outdone, Megan went on to win both her events on Sunday evening, setting new life-best times in both events and almost erasing the team record in the 100-yd backstroke held by a former GPAC Olympian. With her six new life-best times, Megan set four new ‘AAAA’ times, all of which will rank her nationally in the top-30.

GPAC had eight other swimmers make the medal podium, finishing in the top-three. Landry Hadder, 13, exhibited her distance prowess by clawing her way to the bronze medal in the finals of the 13-14 girls’ 500-yd freestyle, dropping nearly five seconds off her previous best time. Hadder also nabbed the bronze medal in the 1,650-yd freestyle, throwing down a sub-18 minute mile time, dropping nearly 25 seconds.

Makayla Ludwick, 16, also earned a bronze medal in the senior girls’ 200-yd backstroke with a new ‘AAAA’ time. Ludwick swam four out of six life-best times at the meet and posted 67 points to the team total, a she finished in the top-eight in five events. She also earned a new NCSA Junior National qualifying time in her 100-yd backstroke and a new senior sectional cut in the 200-yd freestyle. Makayla also qualified for the championship finals in the 50 and 100-yd backstroke and the 500-yd freestyle. She also finished sixth in the 1,650-yd free.

Fourteen-year-old Maren Mackey made the championship finals in the 13-14 girls’ 400-yd individual medley, scoring third place. Her time of four minutes, 37.50 seconds was good for a new senior sectional qualifying time, as well as 16 points. Maren also made the finals of the 200-yd IM, where she finished sixth, and posted a new age group sectional cut and new ‘AAA’ time in the 100-yd breaststroke.

Aiden Morgan, 14, was the silver medalist in the 13-14 boys’ 200-yd breaststroke. Aiden cut nearly four seconds off his previous best time to edge out the competition and set a new senior sectional qualifying time. He was a championship finalist in all six of his individual events, adding 83 points for the team. He improved in four of his six individual events at the meet, and set another new senior sectional cuts in the 400-yd individual medley.

Taking the bronze medal in the senior boys’ 200-yd backstroke, Walker Parra, 16, added another 16 points to the team total. Parra also set a new ‘AAA’ times at the meet in the 100-yd backstroke that was also good for a Junior National bonus time, along with a new senior sectional cut in the 200-yd freestyle.

James Tracey, 16, also representing the GPAC distance corps, claimed the bronze medal in the senior boys’ 1,650-yd freestyle, dropping nearly 30 seconds off his previous best time and earning a new NCSA Junior National cut time. James went to appear in the championship final of the 500-yd freestyle as well, where he took the bronze medal again.

GPAC’s quartet of 10-and-under boys swam with power and command and took third place as a team at the meet. Landon Garcia, 9, nabbed a pair of bronze medals, finishing third in the 100-yd individual medley and in the 100-yd breaststroke, where he earned a new ‘AA’ time. He also scored a fifth place finish in the 200-yd IM and an eighth in the 50-yd breaststroke. Landon went on to set four new age group sectional cuts in both his individual medley events, in the 100-yd backstroke and in the relay lead-off in the 50-yd freestyle. Landon scored 57 points in the meet.

Ian Malone, 10, nabbed the silver medal in the 200-yd individual medley and took the bronze medal in the 200-yd freestyle.  Ian also placed fourth in the 100-yd butterfly, sixth in the 100-yd backstroke and seventh in the 50-yd freestyle. Ian contributed 73 points to the team total.

Malone and Garcia, along with Max Little, 10 and Cain Scoggins, 10, put together two top-notch relays at the meet, both of which won the bronze medal and helped GPAC secure the points to finish sixth at the meet. Little also notched a pair of scoring swims with a sixth place finish in the 100-yd breaststroke and an eighth place finish in the 200-yd IM. Scoggins snuck in with a seventh place finish in the 100-yd butterfly. All in all, the 10-and-under boys scored over 200 points together for the team.

In combination with these medalists, GPAC boasted many other championship finalists. Renee Henderson, 15, finished eighth in the 100-yd breaststroke and set a new Futures championship and NCSA Junior National cut. She also set a new ‘AAA’ time in the 200-yd breaststroke. Along with Renee, senior AJ Luth, 17, picked up her first NCSA Junior National cut in the 100-yd breaststroke, which also qualified her for the Futures championship.

Sara Lypko, 13, boasted a trio of finals appearances, finishing seventh in the 200-yd breaststroke and the 1,650-yd freestyle, and eighth in the 500-yd freestyle. Both distance free swims were new age group sectional cuts. Sara’s performance in the 200-yd breaststroke earned her a new team record, where she erased a 34-year old mark.

Kat Ralls, 11, made her first appearance in a Southeastern championship finals, finishing fourth in the 50-yd butterfly and seventh in the 100-yd IM. Both of these swims were personal best times for Kat and the 100-yd IM was good for a new age group sectional cut. She also posted a new sectional cut and ‘AA’ time in the 50-yd breaststroke.

Cali Wilson, 16, demonstrated her breaststroke expertise by making the championship finals in the 50, 100, and 200-yd distances. She finished sixth in the 100-yd breaststroke, setting a new ‘AAAA’ time, and finished eighth in both the 50 and 200-yd races.

Thirteen-year-old Emma Wortman made a huge impact on the team score by making the finals in three of her individual events. Emma placed seventh in the 200-yd butterfly and eighth in both the 100 and 200-yd breaststrokes. Her times in the breaststroke events were good for new ‘AAA’ time standards, as well as new senior sectional cuts. Emma just missed setting the team record in the 100-yd breaststroke by a scant .51 seconds. Emma set two new age group sectional times in the 200 and 400-yd individual medleys, and her time in the 400-yd IM was good for a new ‘AAA’ time. Emma set all personal best times in her six individual events at the meet.

Joining Megan and Emma in setting all personal best times at the meet, Noah Scoggins, 14, dropped time in all six of his events. Dipping under the one-minute mark in his 100-yd butterfly earned him a new Age Group Sectional cut as well as a new ‘AA’ time.

Jameson Walker, 12, made his rookie appearance at the Southeastern championship and posted all life-best times in all five of his individual events. His three second time drop in the 200-yd freestyle was good for a new ‘A’ time.

GPAC also had nice team support from the relays. In addition to the 10-and-under boys’ bronze medal performances, the GPAC senior girls’ 400-yd medley relay of Henderson, Ludwick, Wilson and Grace Matthews took fifth, and the boys’ 400-yd freestyle relay of Coulson Barfield, Cason Forst, William Henderson and Nevada Wood finished eighth.

GPAC had ten swimmers combine for 18 new Age Group Sectional cuts. Congratulations to Landon Garcia, Landry Hadder, Claire Han, Sara Lypko, Maren Mackey, Kat Ralls, Jack Rowell, Cain Scoggins, Noah Scoggins and Emma Wortman.

In addition to these swimmers, GPAC also had another ten swimmers combine for 15 new Senior Sectional cuts. Congratulations to  Megan Corcoran, Makayla Ludwick, Sara Lypko, Maren Mackey, Aiden Morgan, Walker Parra, James Tracey, Cali Wilson, Nevada Wood, Emma Wortman.

Congratulations to these swimmers who posted new motivational times at the meet:

A: Landon Garcia, Sarah Marks, Logan Robinson, Jack Rowell, Jameson Walker

AA: Landon Garcia, Landry Hadder, AJ Luth, Sara Lypko, Ian Malone, Kat Ralls, Jack Rowell, Cain Scoggins, Noah Scoggins, Emma Wortman

AAA: Landry Hadder, Claire Han, Renee Henderson, William Henderson, Maren Mackey, Grace Matthews, Aiden Morgan, Walker Parra, James Tracey, Cali Wilson, Emma Wortman

AAAA: Megan Corcoran, Makayla Ludwick, Cali Wilson

The GPAC team will now prepare for even more competition, as a group of nine senior swimmers have made qualifications to attend the NCSA Junior National championships in Orlando the third week of March, and 15 swimmers (14-and-under) will attend the Age Group Sectional meet in Atlanta the same week.