As Team USA prepared for the past week’s FINA Short Course World Championships in China, many of the nation’s other top swimmers, started down the road to Tokyo at the 2018 USA Winter National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina held Nov 28-Dec.1. The meet represented the first opportunity in the “qualifying period” – which opened on November 28, set by USA Swimming, Inc. to achieve the standards required to participate in the June, 2020 USA Olympic Swimming Selection Meet in Omaha, Nebraska.To qualify, a swimmer must achieve the time standards in a USA Swimming sanctioned or approved Long Course meet held exclusively in a 50-Meter pool.
The Greenwich YWCA Dolphins Meghan Lynch and Kate Hazlett traveled to Greensboro for their first opportunity and according to Dolphins Coach Nick Cavataro, “it was a big success and great measuring stick for where Meghan and Kate are today.” For Lynch, 15, coming off a strong a MVP Connecticut High School season in yards, the National meet got off with a bang with a lifetime best effort in one her signature events, the 200-Meter Individual Medley. Qualifying ninth in the morning preliminaries at 2:17.03, Lynch punched her ticket going for Omaha, going under the 2:17.39 standard with a best time by .08. The evening finals saw the GHS tenth grade student finish tenth at 2:17.09.
The next day Lynch missed the standard of 4:51.79, with a time of 4:52.28, but did make an appearance in her first National Championship final, ending in eighth place. Lynch was also twelfth in the 200-Breaststroke at 2:34.29, just one second over the qualifying time; and was twenty-sixth and thirty fourth respectively in the 100-Free and Breast events.For Hazlett, 18, who was a participant in the 2016 USA selection meet, the meet started with a 14th place in the 50-Meter Freestyle with a time 26.09 just .1 over the qualifying standard. Hazlett, a Greenwich Academy All American who has committed to Harvard University in the fall, was also 27th in the 100-Back at 1:04.00, 1.31 over the standard and 30th in the 200-Backstroke at 2:19.36, just 4.67 away from the qualifying mark.
“For Meghan and Kate to go up against some of the USA’s best on this stage and come away with these results, is very encouraging,” commented Cavataro. “I know they each have their minds made up to qualify in as many events as they can, as early as they can so they can prepare for the June 2020 meet. The times are much faster than in 2016, as USA Swimming has tried to keep the fields competitive. It will be a very exciting next 18 months.”