GPAC captures 4th place at Southeasterns

Greg Johnson
Mar 1, 2019

               In an exciting weekend full of individual champions, relay wins, new team records and many new cuts, the 42-member GPAC swim team punctuated the revelry with a fourth-place team finish, the highest in over a decade, at the 2019 Southeastern Swimming short course championships held in Huntsville, AL February 22-24. Holding on to fifth place for most of the meet, the team’s performances on Sunday, including 20 A-final swims that night, moved the team up to fourth place at the end of the meet.

               In line with the GPAC tradition, two swimmers laid claim to individual event titles at this year’s championship. Megan Corcoran, 13, laid down a monster 200-yd butterfly race to take the title for the 13-14 age group, and was Megan’s 12th Southeastern Swimming individual title. Her time of two minutes, 4.35 seconds smashed the age group’s team record by over four seconds, and erased one of the oldest marks in the book—from 1984. Corcoran also won the silver medal in the 400-yd individual medley, where GPAC placed 2-3, with Landry Hadder, 14, pulling up for third place.

               Corcoran was also part of the gold medal-winning 13-14 girls’ 400-yd medley relay. Along with Corcoran and Hadder, the relay of Claire Han, 14, and Emma Wortman, 14, obliterated the old team record from 1998 by over nine seconds. The relay of the same girls won the silver medal in the 400-yd freestyle relay the night prior, also setting a new team record

               Ten-year-old Landon Garcia saw his goals come to fruition, as he won both the 50-yd and 100-yd breaststroke races. Garcia was the top-seeded breaststroker in his age group in these events going into the meet, and set personal best times in both races. Landon also won the silver medal in the 200-yd individual medley, and bronze medals in the 100-yd IM, 500-yd freestyle and 50-yd butterfly. Landon was the second-highest scoring swimmer in his age group.

               “We talked a lot over the weekend about possibilities,” said GPAC head coach Greg Johnson. “Any chance we could get to get into a lane to swim a race, the more opportunities would present themselves. The swimmers did exactly what it took to place well at the meet and swim some very fast times. The staff is very proud of the team.”

               It was an all-out assault on the team record book, as the team reset seven team records over the course of the weekend. In addition to Corcoran’s new team record and the relay record set, Emma Wortman broke her own 100 and 200-yd team records twice each day. She swam a new team record in the 100-yd race on Friday in the preliminaries, and came back to reset it at night in the finals. The same happened with her 200-yd breaststroke, where she ended up shaving over 3.5 seconds off her team mark set just last month.

               Walker Parra, 17, in his 200-yd backstroke finale at the Southeastern championships, knocked a few tenths of a second off his best time to set a new team record and win the bronze medal. His time of 1 minute, 51.16 seconds eclipsed the old team record which he set in November. He also won the bronze medal in the 400-yd IMWalker also swam on the team record-setting senior boys’ 400-yd freestyle relay. Parra, as well as Cason Forst, 17, William Henderson, 16, and Tanker Speck, 17, swam an exciting race to replace the record from 26 years ago.

               Tanker Speck, a junior, had a tremendous meet, swimming six-out-of-six personal best times and pulling in six qualifying times for the NCSA Junior National championships held in Orlando during spring break. Three of those times were new ‘AAA’ for Speck. He also set a new sectional qualifying time in the 50-yd free style. He placed fifth in the championship final of the 200-yd IM.

               William Henderson was a two-time championship finalist at the meet, making the medal podium with a bronze medal in the 50-y breaststroke and a seventh-place finish in the 100-yd breastststroke. He set a new USA Swimming Futures championship qualifying time in the event, as well as a new NCSA Junior National cut in the 50-yd freestyle.

               Along with Speck and Henderson, two of GPAC’s 13-14 girls set new junior national qualifying times as well as new Futures cuts. Corcoran’s winning 200-yd butterfly time qualifies her for the Futures championships that will be held this July in Greensboro, NC. Along with her, Emma Wortman punched her ticket to the showcase meet with her 100-breaststroke time, winning silver in the event by a scant .31 seconds. She also won bronze in the 200-yd breaststroke and placed fourth in the 100-yd butterfly and sixth in the 200-yd IM

               “We really had some young swimmer step up and swim fast, not just the 13-14,” said age group coach at UWF Alex Gillespie. “Our 11-12 boys really came through with some top-notch performances.”

               Braedan Jacobs, 12, was a three-time finalist in the freestyle events, placing fifth in the 200-yd free, sixth in the 500-yd free and seventh in the 100-yd free. His performance in the 200 raked in 14 points for GPAC and a new ‘AAA’ time for him.

               Along with Jacobs, Logan Robinson, 12, made four championship final races at the meet. A sixth-place finish in the 200-yd IM and a trio of eighth-place finishes totaled 57 points for GPAC.

               Logan and Braedan were also strong legs on the 11-12 boys’ 200-yd freestyle relay that took the bronze medal. Max Little, 11, and Ian Malone, 11, were also on the award-winning relay.

               GPAC’s relays were strong and deep throughout the meet, with many swimmers splitting personal best times in their relay positions. In addition to the 13-14 girls’ relays that won gold and silver, and the senior boys’ fifth-place finish, the 10-and-under boys nabbed two top-six performances in the relays. Landon Garcia, 10, Graeson Garcia, 9, Noah Jacobs, 10, and William McNally, 10, sprinted to a fourth-place finish in the 200-yd medley relay and sixth in the 200-yd freestyle relay.

The 11-12 girls’ free relay of Sara Gray, 11, Belle McNally, 12, Jaydah Phelan, 12, and Lex Vaughn, 12, nabbed seventh place good for 24 points. The senior girls’ 400-yd freestyle relay of Caitlin Bridges, 18, Makayla Ludwick, 17, Gracie Matthews, 17, and Cali Wilson, 17, pulled in for ninth.

Seniors Ludwick and Wilson, co-swimmers of the year for area high schools, made several championship finals at the meet. Ludwick swam in the A-final of the 100 and 200-yd backstrokes, sweeping two sixth place finishes. Wilson, who was the high school 2A state champion in the 100-yd breaststroke made the final races of the 50 and 100-yd breaststroke, finishing eighth and sixth, respectively.

Landry Hadder, 14, scored 50 points for GPAC and continued to demonstrate her grit by racing the “Triple Crown”—the 500-yd freestyle, 400-yd individual medley and the 1,650-yd freestyle. Landry medaled in all three. Dropping over 16 seconds, Hadder claimed the silver in the mile and also in the 500-yd free race on Saturday night of the meet. The day before, racing to give GPAC the 2-3 finish in the 400-yd IM. Hadder’s times in the 400 IM and the mile were new ‘AAAA’ times for her.

               Lindsey Rauscher, 14, in her second-ever Southeastern championship nearly won the 13-14 girls’ 50-yd breaststroke. Leading at the touch of the turn, Rauscher powered her way down the final length to come within .29 seconds of the gold. Not to be disappointed, Rausher left the meet with a nice slver medal, three new sectional cuts and two new ‘AA’ times. Rauscher will join Sydney London,14, Kat Ralls, 13, and Claire Han, 14, in Atlanta as a part of the GPAC Age Group Sectional Team.

               Clarie Han took home the bronze medal in the 13-14 girls’ 100-yd freestyle, and placed fifth in the 50 and sixth in the 200 and Renee Henderson, 16, placed third in the 200-yd IM.

               James Tracey, 17, raced a tough mile to win the bronze in the 1,650yd freestyle, gutting out a new personal best time. He also swam a strong 500-yd freestyle in the championship final, setting a new personal best time and placing fourth.

               William McNally, 10, grabbed two top-five perfomances on his first day of competition in Huntsville, swimming best times to grab fourth place in the 50-yd backstroke and fifth in the 100-yd butterfly. He also went on to score two sixth place finishes in the 200-yd IM and 100-yd backstroke.

               Adding tremendous depth to the GPAC team corps of IMers, breaststrokers and distance freestylers, Sara Lypko, 14, swam an exceptional meet. Posting all life-best times in her events, Sara made the championship finals in both the 200 and 400-yd IM, placing eighth in both, as well as a sixth-place finish in the 200-yd breaststroke. She capped off her own “Triple Crown” with a fourth-place finish in the 1,650 free, setting a new ‘AAA’ time.

               “GPAC was very dominant in the individual medley events this meet,” said Derick Roe, the team’s age group who came to GPAC most recently from Eastern Michigan University. “We scored nearly 250 alone in the individual medleys. I think it speaks to the team’s focus to develop well-rounded swimmers.”

               Along with the individual medley events, GPAC had great depth in the distance freestyle events as well. Eight different swimmers placed and scored points in races 500 yards or longer: Megan Corcoran (3rd-500 free), Trinity Devanney, 15 (14th-1,650 free), Landon Garcia (3rd-500 free), Landry Hadder (2nd-1,650), Braedan Jacobs (6th-500 free), Sara Lypko (4th-1,650 free), Jack Rowell, 15 (11th-1,650 free), and James Tracey (3rd-1,650 free, 4th-500 free).

               Eight GPAC swimmers accounted for nine new Age Group Sectional qualifying times. Taylor Clements, 10, dropped time and got the cut in the 50-yd backstroke. Newly minted 11-year-old Sara Gray turned a late-season cut time to the meet into to a ticket to Atlanta with a best-time swim in the 100-yd breaststroke.

Max Little, breaststroke specialist, turned in two new sectional times in his 50 and 100-yd breaststroke races. Ian Malone, 11, will head to the meet in Atlanta in mid-March to swim the 200-yd freestyle. Belle McNally nabbed the cut in the 100-yd breaststroke, and Kat Ralls swam her way to a new cut in the 200-yd backstroke.

               Lindsey Rauscher will attend her first-ever sectional meet on a new cut in the 100-yd breaststroke and distance freestyle virtuoso Jameson Walker, 13, will head to the big meet to swim the 1,650-yd freestyle. Fourteen swimmers will travel to Atlanta to attend the age group sectional meet, where teams of 10-to-14-year-old swimmers from across the Southeast will attend.

On the senior side, 18 swimmers came up 18 new sectional cuts. Swimmers making new cuts were Caitlin Bridges, 18 (50, 100 fr), Trinity Devanney (400 IM), Landry Hadder (100 bk), Claire Han (50, 100 free), Sara Lypko (400 IM), Maren Mackey, 15 (100 fly), Gracie Matthews (200 fly), Aiden Morgan, 15 (400 IM), Kat Ralls (200 bk), Seth Scoggins, 17 (100, 200 br), Tanker Speck (50 fr), Emma Wortman (200 IM). GPAC will have a team of 12 swimmers head down to Plantation, FL to race at the senior sectional championships the second week of March.

GPAC swimmers accounted for eight new ‘AAAA’ times at the meet, putting these swimmers among some of the best in the country. Congratulations to these swimmers who set new motivational time standards:

                      A:     Max Little, Jack Rowell, Jameson Walker

AA:   Taylor Clements, Ian Malone, Gracie Matthews, Kat Ralls, Lindsey Rauscher, Seth Scoggins, Lily Stockton, Lex Vaughn

AAA: Trinity Devanney, Braedan Jacobs, Sydney London, Sara Lypko, Aiden Morgan, Jack Rowell, Tanker Speck, Cali Wilson

AAAA: Megan Corcoran, Landry Hadder, William Henderson, Emma Wortman

Many of the swimmers from the fourth-place GPAC Southeastern championship team will be busy preparing for the next meet. Thirty swimmers will extend their swimming season a few weeks to compete with the best in the Southeast. GPAC is very proud of all the swimmers who trained and raced this season to make this team the best it could be.