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National Champ

JCC’s Yuchnitz Claims NJCAA Title In 50-Yard Freestyle

Jamestown Community College’s Karianne Yuchnitz, seen in this file photo from earlier in the season, placed first in the 50-yard freestyle at the NJCAA Championships on Wednesday at Indian River (Fla.) State College. Submitted photos

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — For the first time in the history of the program, the Jamestown Community College swimming and diving team has an NJCAA national champion.

Sophomore Karianne Yuchnitz climbed out of the pool at Indian River State College a winner after clocking a time of 23.87 to take home the 50-yard freestyle, beating out Sydney Weatherspoon of Division I Indian River State College by just over half a second.

“The race got over and I gave her a big hug and said congratualtions you are a national champion,” said JCC coach Todd Conklin, who has coached Yuchnitz for the last seven years dating back to Panama Central School. “She continues to do what she does. She set a time this morning and broke a school record, then was the top seed going into the finals and bettered that mark to win the championship. It has been a fun ride with her. I’ve had her for seven years now, being at Panama. I have experiened all the ups and all the downs. It is really great to see her relish this moment and become a national champion.”

It was a day of success for Conklin and his team, with all swimmers notching personal-best times. Most boys and girls swimmers are scheduled for four individual events in addition to four relay events.

The Jayhawks sent a combined team of 12 to Florida, and are currently in fourth place of the women’s division with 66 team points.

Jamestown Community College’s Karianne Yuchnitz, middle, is the first national champion in school’s swimming & diving history.

“I think we are really going to surprise some people. Our girls team really has a fantastic shot at becoming the non-scholar No. 1 team, and I think the guys will be fighting there as well,” Conklin said.

Freshman Lillian Baer (Jamestown/Maple Grove) posted a new personal best in the preliminary round of the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 39.77. Baer finished the night in 11th-place with a time of 39.35 in the championship round. Baer’s previous best was 40.27 posted at the beginning of the season.

Freshman Tia Moppert (Gowanda/Gowanda) finished the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:31.57 in the preliminary round. In the championship round, Moppert posted a time of 2:30.70 to finish 12th. Teammate Jade Vidas (Johannesburg, South Africa/Parktown HS) continues to improve in the 200-yard medley, posting a time of 2:31.57. Vidas posted a time of 2:34.50 in the championship round, finishing in 14th place.

Freshman Anna Burt (Jamestown/Jamestown) also had a career day in the pool, posting a time of 28.44 in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing 17th. Teammate Alyssa Hanesworth (Randolph/Randolph) also posted a personal best in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 31.60, finishing 20th.

Freshman Megan Stang (Perrysburg/Gowanda) competed in the 1,000-yard freestyle, posting a time of 13:45.22 and placing fifth.

The Jayhawks finished the night in the 800-yard freestyle relay with the team of Vidas, Stang, Baer, and Moppert. The team posted a time of 9:21.61 for a fifth-place finish.

The Jayhawks currently sit in seventh in the men’s team standings with 27 points, one point away from Region 3 foe Erie CC.

Sophomore Eathan Johnson (Panama/Panama) had his fastest time in the 50-yard breaststroke with a 31.04 for a 19th-place finish, more than two seconds faster than his personal best. Eathan Johnson beat out fellow Jayhawk Matthew Fennell (Johannesburg, South Africa/King Edwards VII School) who finished 21st with a new personal best, 32.65. Fennell’s previous best was 33.86 at the beginning of the season.

Sophomore Elliot Johnson (Panama/Panama) swam a personal best in the 50-yard freestyle, posting a time of 23.77 for a 23rd-place finish. Elliot Johnson’s previous time was 24.85 in a meet against Erie CC in mid-March.

Freshman Colby Pantall (Jamestown/Maple Grove) may have had the biggest improvement from his previous times, posting a time of 11:39.35 in the 1,000-yard freestyle, nearly 1 minute, 30 seconds faster than his previous best. Pantall finished 16th in the event. Not far behind, Jackson Vanstrom (Jamestown/Southwestern) placed 17th with a time of 12:17.88. Jackson’s previous time in the event was 12:45.59 at the ECC Quad-Meet.

The men finished the night in the 800-yard freestyle relay with the team of Pantall, Vanstrom, Eathan Johnson and Elliot Johnson. The team finished with a time of 8:31.90 and finished in sixth place.

The Jayhawks will be back in the pool today at 9:30 a.m.

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