By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Four Lady Vol swimmers punched their tickets to this summer's 2010 Conoco Phillips National Championships and USA Swimming National Team Trials with outstanding performances this weekend at the Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix Meet.
Rising seniors Aleksa Akerfelds and Tricia Weaner, rising junior Jenny Connolly and rising sophomore Breanna Folk all recorded nationals-qualifying marks at the 26th annual event held at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center and hosted by SwimMac Carolina from Thursday to Sunday.
Alex Barsaniti, who just completed her final season of eligibility, also earned a national mark at the competition.
The 2010 Conoco Phillips National Championships and USA Swimming National Team Trials will be held from Aug. 3-7 in Irvine, Calif., at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.
This was the first long course competition of the summer for the Lady Vols and featured many of the best swimmers in the country.
Connolly, already a member of the USA National Team program, placed seventh in the 100m back (1:02.55), while Akerfelds took eighth in the 800m free (8:53.30) as both dipped below the nationals standards.
Akerfelds added a 10th in the 400m IM in a nationals-qualifying career-best time of 4:54.24, and also placed 15th in the 400m free (4:21.08).
Weaner qualified for the 'B' finals of the 200m back with a national’s standard time of 2:19.02 in the prelims, before placing 15th in 2:21.23 in the finals.
Breanna Folk collected a 10th-place finish, placing second in the 'B' final of the 100y breast in a nationals-qualifying readout of 1:12.42. She also nabbed 18th in the 200m breast (2:39.00).
Barsanti reached a pair of 'A' finals at the meet, taking seventh in the 100m breast with a 1:12.60 touch, that booked her ticket to Irvine, and placing fifth in 200m breast in 2:37.36.
Rising juniors Kirstyn Colonias, Abbie Alton and Maddie Garrett also competed at the summer event.
Colonias snatched 24th in 100m breast finals (1:15.69), while Alton took 23rd in the 50m free finals (27.03) and Garrett added a finals placement on a relay.
Alton, Weaner, Barsanti and Folk raced to a fourth-place finish in the 400m medley relay (4:22.59).
Garrett joined Alton, Weaner and Akerfelds on the eighth-place 400m free relay (4:01.87).
Alton's performance at the meet was especially rewarding for the Big Orange as it was her return to competition after missing the last year because of two back surgeries.
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