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Local swimmers will meet world champions at U.S. Nationals

Duncan MacLean • Jul 30, 2019 at 12:15 AM

With the FINA World Championships wrapping up in Gwangju, Korea on Sunday the American National Team returns home with 27 total medals, topping all other countries, a few new world records and plenty to celebrate.

For some, it is time for a break. Others will be rendezvousing with a few local standouts at Stanford University to share the Avery Aquatic Center for the Phillips 66 National Championships.

Grand Haven standout Kathryn Ackerman and Spring Lake star Cam Peel are headed to the Golden State for the nation’s premier championship meet after both picking up cuts to swim at next year’s Olympic Trials.

Peel, the fastest sprinter the State of Michigan has ever seen, will share events with Caeleb Dressel, the fastest sprinter Planet Earth has ever seen, after winning FINA’s Swimmer of the World Championships Award with six gold and two silver medals.

Ackerman will have her own world record holders to deal with as recent world champion and record-breaker Regan Smith will compete in the backstroke events.

Like last year, Ackerman will be in contention for a spot on the U.S. Junior National team, hoping to finish as one of the top two 18-and-under competitors to earn a spot with the Red, White and Blue in a soon to begin Olympic Year.

The Grand Haven rising senior will take on the 200-meter freestyle, the 200 individual medley, the 400 individual medley and the 100 backstroke.

Peel, a 2019 Spring Lake graduate and rising University of Michigan freshman, will make the trip to California with the Wolverines on his mind as he embarks on his NCAA career in just a few short weeks. He will take on the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and the 200 freestyle.

The meet begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday with Peel and Ackerman competing on all five days of competition.

Today kicks off with Peel taking on the 100 freestyle, where he is seeded 105th with his seed time of 51.50.

Ackerman will hit the pool Thursday for the first time, joining Peel in the 200 freestyle. Ackerman holds the 87th seed with her time of 2:02.34, while Peel sits 140th with his short-course yards seed time of 1:38.36.

Friday is all Ackerman with her best-seeded event, the 400 IM, where she sits seeded 19th overall with a time of 4:46.08. Ahead of her in the 18-and-under standings are Emma Weyant, Clare Tuggle, who earned a national team spot last year, Isabel Gormley and Summer Smith. Weyant leads the group at 4:40.64, with the others all coming in between 4:44 and 4:46.

Saturday will pit Ackerman against the 100 backstroke, where she holds the 66th seed at 1:02.68.

Finally, Sunday brings on the 200 IM for Ackerman and the 50 freestyle for Peel. Ackerman is back in the top 20 for the shorter IM race, holding 19th overall and fifth among junior competitors at 2:15.18.

Peel occupies 76th in his signature event after his Olympic Trial satisfying time of 23.13, which he clocked at the West Michigan Classic in July.

Both Ackerman and Peel qualified for the Phillips 66 U.S. Nationals after stellar performances at the March Speedo Champions Series in Indianapolis.

Ackerman finished first in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM and second in the 200 backstroke, earning Olympic Trial cuts in all three events. She also took third in the 200 free and participated in five relay swims for Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics.

Peel took second in the 50 freestyle, fourth in the 100 freestyle and 10th in the 200 freestyle and competed in five relay events.

The meet will be live broadcast on usaswimming.org, with select sessions broadcasting on nbcsports.com. Each day’s A-finals from 8-9:30 p.m. will be broadcast on television on the NBC Sports Network.

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