Swim Meet of Champions (SMOC) - Mission Viejo

22 June 2018 (Mission Viejo, CA) - Perhaps you have seen our fearless and intrepid reporter on site and on the job with her daily broadcasts - Ava Freestyle has taken over the Cascade instagram account and has been broadcasting and commentating on the meet’s events. You can view that all on the Cascade Instagram account (@CascadeSwimClubYYC) or tune in to tonight’s (Sunday’s) show beginning around 6PM Calgary time - not sure what time the broadcast will begin but watch for it!

Day 2 of the perennial Swim Meet of Champions (SMOC) also known now as the Fran Crippen Memorial in Orange County got us underway Friday (day 1 was just the mile and we didn’t have anyone compete in that event). The meet, which has been renamed in honour of former Mission Viejo Nadadore Swim Team member, Fran Crippen, who tragically passed away during in open water competition in 2010 in Dubai, has been around for 50 years and seem some of the very best in American and World swimming dip their toes into the historic pool. Take a look at the records listed on the psych sheets and it reads like a who’s who of Olympic swimming over the past twenty years: Cochrane, Clary, Adrian, Kitajima, Hosszu, Seebohm, Savard, and Ziegler just to name a few. Now, add to that mix our own strong showing of youngsters from Cascade: Butler, Cur, Free, Katelnikoff, Ketchin, Nelson, Varga and Pratt some of whom just got back from competing against Lochte and Dressell in Vanoucer and the event takes on a whole meaning.

The meet has bonus (“C”), consolation (“B”) and championship (“A”) finals in all events and even semi-finals in the stroke 50’s the same night as the championship final in the 50 so our swimmers were going to have plenty of opportunity to shine throughout the weekend. Due to the meet being where it is, in California, which has an incredible swimming population - more than 25,000 competitive swimmers (USA Swimming, 2016 statistic) - which is just about 50% of all competitive swimmers in Canada (and more than 3 times as many as are in Alberta!) the meet was huge and fast. To manage all of these swimmers meets this fast and of this size are run “flighted” which means that they swim a certain amount of heats per event in the prelims and then run repechage (additional) prelim heats after the main prelims session (you can still make the “A”, “B” and “C” finals from these repechage heats you are just swimming your heat swim at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

What did the Cascade crew have to offer up in terms of results on Day 2 (Friday)?

In the 50m backstroke event Alexandra Butler qualified into the second round with her 30.53 swim in the prelims. As we mentioned the 50’s have prelims, semis and finals. Ella Varga also just missed the second round with a 31.72 prelim swim finishing 27th (24 go through to the semis). In the semis Alex equalled her time again with a 30.56 swim but wasn’t in the top-8 moving on to the finals. The meet (it is outdoors) is a learning experience for a lot of our top swimmers who have yet to compete at this kind of level in an outdoor pool - backstroke can be the biggest challenge of them all outside.

In the 200m butterfly event Cole Pratt just missed squeaking into the “A” final with his 2:05.43 prelims swim, an even two seconds over his lifetime best from last summer. The final had all sorts of big men in the field including the top-seed entered in a 1:57! At night, swimming in the “B” final, Pratt put up his fastest in-season of the year with a 2:04.55 just off of his April Canadian Championships swim of 2:03.61 - Cole was second in the “B” final.

On the next day, day 3 (Saturday) we had some more exciting results in what turned out to be a “Double-Medal” Day for the Cascade contingent.

First up was youngster Ella Varga, just 14 years-old competing in of her first truly senior meets and for sure first outdoors at this level. Ella made it into the “B” final after her 2:20.95 swim in the prelims. At night she matched that time again with another 2:20.81 effort for 15th overall.

In the boy’s race Cole Pratt had qualified in third overall after the morning in a solid 2:06.2. At night the race was at a much higher tempo with lane #2, Josiah Binnema, blasting out of the gates and leading coast to coast to coast to win in 2:01.15. Pratt was left with the rest of the field to battle for the last two podium spots. All across lanes three through seven it was extremely tight and Cole’s spot amongst them see-sawed between 3rd and 4th the whole way before he got his hand on the wall in 2:05.45 and picked up the bronze medal. Sho Neilson was in the “B” final immediately before the “A” race after swimming 2:10.29 in the prelims - Neilson dead even-splitter a 2:10.17 (1:05.08 / 1:05.09) to finish 8th in the “B”.

In the 400IM, King of All Races, race Matthew Ketchin was 4:39 in the prelims to get into the “C” final. At night he was better with solid splitting the whole way through hitting 1:03.77 on the fly before negative splitting a 1:11.94 on the back and again negative splitting a 1:17.24 on the breaststroke - just like the textbooks tell you to do. On the freestyle leg Ketchin was solid again adding a little flare to the finish in 1:01.97 with a 31.7, 30.2 splitting on the last 100m. Final time for Matt was 4:34.92 to win the “C” final. Cole Pratt swam in heat before finishing 14th with a 4:38.04 swim.

The final race of the night was the 4x200m freestyle and the Cascade boys were all fired up. Cole Pratt led the crew out in 1:56.63. Sho Neilson was next in 1:58.50. Alex Katelnikoff was solid in 1:56.69 and fast Mathieu Cyr brought the team home in 1:59.45. Final time for Cascade was 7:51.27 finishing just behind the host club who won (Mission Viejo Nadadores) taking the silver medal.

Check out our follow us results link or go directly here for live results.

Also, they are posting all race finals (“A”, “B” & “C”) not long after they are done here on the USA Swimming YouTube channel.