The Friday night swimming events were dominated by two triple gold medal winners from Providence and Greater Boston as those two chapters battled to win the meet. When the splashing stopped, the host team had 55 points which was 13 more than the defending champs. New Jersey ended up with 20 points and Middlesex County had 11 points. Azniv Khaligian had all nine points for Racine, while Detroit totaled eight and Philadelphia had seven. Tied for eighth place with four points each were North Andover and Granite City. San Francisco and Chicago completed the chapter scoring with three and two points respectively.
Natalia Oganesian from Providence won three events while competing in her first Olympics. She swims for the local East Greenwich High School team sporting times of 25.16 and 56.17 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles and 29.72 in the 50 fly. Oganesian will be attending the University of Rhode Island this fall and plans to swim for its club team with hopes of making the collegiate team next year. The “Varantian Flash” first won the 25 meter freestyle with a time of 13.45, which was only 0.26 slower than the record. Middlesex’s Araz Dulgarian and Alique Andonian from San Francisco took second and third. Oganesian then grabbed the 50 free in 29.97 while overtaking Alique Stepanian from Greater Boston in the final 10 meters to win by 0.18 seconds. Gabby Krikorian from Granite City won the bronze. Oganesian took her third gold in the 25 butterfly in an even closer finish over Stepanian again. Her time of 14.91 was only 0.12 faster than Stepanian, while Krikorian placed third again. Stepanian did win the 100 freestyle in 1:10.06 ahead of Azniv Khaligian and Eliz Ohanian from Providence. Khaligian bounced back to touch first in the 50 backstroke with a time of 43.34. Alyssa Bailey (Providence) and Shayna McCarthy (New Jersey) placed second and third. The 50 breaststroke was another close affair with Eliz Ohanian holding off a late charge from Dulgarian to win in 48.19. Greater Boston’s Taleen Lachinian won the bronze.
Finally, the girls 4 x 25 freestyle relay saw the Middlesex West chapter defend their title with a time of 1:11.00. Providence took second place ahead of Greater Boston.
In the men’s events, newcomer Nareg Minasian from Greater Boston took three golds in fairly easy fashion. Minasian is a member of the Crimson Aquatics club team in Massachusetts and was a Junior National qualifier there. His best times are 20.87 and 45.50 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles and 56.58 in the 50 breaststroke. Minasian is going into his senior year of high school but has verbally committed to the Yale University swim team for the fall of 2022. He won his first gold in the 50 freestyle which was his closest race. His time of 23.94 was one second better than Providence’s Gor Bagumyan, who swims for Clark University.
Armen Vartanian from Detroit placed third. Minasian’s time in the preliminary race was 23.76, which was only 0.2 second off the 1991 record held by Raffi Karapetian from Detroit. Minasian then won the 100 freestyle in 54.69 with Aram Barmakian (New Jersey) and Bagumyan taking the other medals. His third gold was in the 50 butterfly clocking 28.31 while Barmakian was over two seconds behind. Sevan Zobian (Providence) placed third. Barmakian came back to easily win the 50 breaststroke with a time of 37.62 with Zobian and Richard Minasian (North Andover) trailing behind. Meanwhile, Bagumyan was able to secure gold in the 50 backstroke in 35.78 ahead of Daron Pogharian of Philadelphia and Robert Mahlebjian from North Andover.
The first men’s swimming relay was the 200 meter medley where Providence won in 2:42.50. Greater Boston and Philadelphia grabbed the next two places. Detroit was the victor in the 200 freestyle relay clocking 2:20.97. Greater Boston edged out Providence for second place as Minasian came from behind. The final event of the competition was the coed 4 x 50 freestyle relay where the Greater Boston team broke the AYF record set in 2019 by Detroit. Minasian and Stepanian were joined by Joe Charchaflian and Anoush Krafian to post a time of 2:09.81 which converts to 1:56.95 in yards. Providence and New Jersey placed second and third.