Dudzinski smashes AMS records
Ryan Dudzinski smashed four Allegheny Mountain Swimming records and led a quartet of Upper St. Clair swimmers during the USA Swimming Winter Junior National Championships.
Held in Greensboro, N.C., the competition featured the fastest 18-and-under swimmers in the country.
“We had a great meet,” said head coach Dave Schraven. “All of our swimmers competed with heart and represented USC swimming with pride.
“Ryan had a breakout performance,” Schraven added. “He established himself not only as one of the top swimmers in the state of Pennsylvania, but he also put himself on the map as one of the top swimmers his age in the country.”
After opening the meet with a “respectable but not extraordinary” performance in the 50 freestyle, the USC junior turned it on in his remaining events. He racked up 41 points and finished 10th in the men’s overall scoring race.
In the 100 butterfly, Dudzinski grabbed the bronze medal. He lowered his preliminary time by 1.01 and finished in 47.52. The mark shattered the AMS record set in 1988 by Tom Hay of Peters Township.
Dudzinski also took third in the 100 backstroke. His time of 47.46 also smashed an AMS record. Dudzinski’s brother, Kyle, who now swims at the University of Virginia, owned the previous mark.
In the 200 back, Dudzinski also broke his brother’s AMS record, posting a 1:45.94 time in the prelims. He finished eighth overall with a 1:46.30 time.
With a lead-off leg of :45.12 in the free relay, Dudzinski lowered the AMS record set in 2011 by John Nappi. The Mt. Lebanon product now swims for Notre Dame.
By virtue of his times, Dudzinski is currently the eighth ranked recruit in the country for the class of 2015.
In addition to Dudzinski, Alex Hardwick, Nate Novak and Nikhil Narayanan competed for the USC Swim Club in the meet. While Novak and Narayanan raced in the 200 and 400 free relays, Hardwick also competed individually in the 50, 100 and 200 free events. The USC relays of Dudzinski, Novak, Narayanan and Hardwick finished 24th in the 200 free and 26th in the 400 free.
According to Shraven, while Hardwick swam just off his personal best times in his races, this is the earliest in the year that he has posted such marks. “He has positioned himself well for the PIAA Championships in March,” said Schraven. The USC senior and Emory University recruit has set his sights on becoming a state champion in the 200 freestyle, says Schraven.
USC events the high school swim season as the 2013 WPIAL runner-up. District champions in 2012, the Panthers finished fifth in the PIAA state finals last March.
NOTE: In addition to the USC foursome, several other area swimmers represented the AMS district and competed in the Junior Nationals. Among them were: Katie Antal, Gregory Arnold, Lauren Barber, Kristen Bishop, Zach Buerger,
Alexander Caprara, Jacquelyn Du, Michael Eaton, Jarod Kehl, Casey Melzer, Heidi Miller, Austin Mortimer, Griffin Schaetzle, Neal Smith and Morgan Soulia.