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Wednesday, February 21 Sports

Local swimmers wrap up age-group careers

Verity Abel wrapped up her age-group career last week at the YMCA Long Course Nationals at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and added multiple medals to a career filled with dozens of them.

Her final individual race ended with a second-place finish in the 800 freestyle last Friday. Despite breaking the meet record of 8:55.46, Abel (8:53.18) was bested by Caitlynn Moon (8:49.29) for the second time at the meet. Abel also finished second to Moon in the 1,500 freestyle last Monday.

Abel's efforts over the five-day meet -- highlighted by a win in the 400 individual medley -- helped the Wilton Wahoos to a fourth-place finish. Abel swam in five relays as Wilton placed fifth in the 400 freestyle, ninth in the 800 freestyle, fourth in the 200 medley, fifth in the 400 medley and third in the 200 freestyle.

Three time zones over, four Westport swimmers -- Ian Rainey, Jonathan Blansfield, Bryce Keblish and John Whiteside -- competed at USA Junior Nationals, held in Irvine, Calif. July 30-Aug 3.

Rainey finished third in the 400 IM (4:20.72), 2.7 seconds off the winning time set by Curtis Ogren, of Menlo Park, Calif. Rainey finished 16th in the 200 butterfly (2:01.99), 28th in the 200 backstroke (2:04.55) and 14th in the 400 freestyle (3:58.73).

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Rainey closed the meet with a sixth-place finish (8:07.20) in the 800 freestyle on Sunday. Blansfield finished 28th (8:19.30) in the same event.

Blansfield also finished 40th in the 1,500 (16:05.13) and 37th in the 400 freestyle (4:00.83).

Blansfield's Water Rats teammates Keblish and Whiteside also competed in Irvine. Whiteside competed in the 100 (58.91) and 200 (207.02) backstroke. Keblish swam in four events, highlighted by a 33rd in the 200 freestyle (1:53.73).