The King’s Academy Short Course Meter Invite
- September 4, 2021
- The King’s Academy, West Palm Beach, Florida
- Short Course Meters (SCM)
- Saint Andrew’s School, The King’s Academy, South Florida HEAT, Jensen Beach High School, Lake Worth Christian
In a much-anticipated invite that included The King’s Academy, Saint Andrew’s School, Jensen Beach High School, Lake Worth Christian, and the South Florida HEAT, a team of home-schooled athletes, 10 NISCA National High School Records were broken on Saturday in an early-season high school meet.
All 10 records were broken in short course meters. While short course yards, in a 25 yard pool, is the traditional high school course, 25 meter racing is an approved high school course.
The King’s Academy pool is set up in short course meters through the summer season (they don’t have a 50 meter pool for the traditional long course season), and will soon shift the pool back to short course yards to prepare for the upcoming Florida High School State Championship.
But that wasn’t before they hosted a record-fest meet on Saturday.
“I knew if we could bring some of our local South Florida talent together, we could have a very fast early season meet,” said Jonathan Zuchowski, the TKA host. “They were amazing. Kids were up cheering for everyone.”
Zuchowski says he hopes to expand the meet in future seasons and invite other south Florida powers like Pine Crest in future years.
The meet was capped at 5 schools and 120 swimmers due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Four of the five teams in the meet had swimmers break National Records, with Lake Worth Christian being the only exception. These short course meters records have really begun to rise in prominence in the last few years – though they don’t often get state championship-caliber tapers, the names of swimmers who held the records broken on Saturday are of a high caliber. That includes previous record holders like 4-time Olympic medalist Amanda Weir, teenage Olympic Trials finalist Matthew Fallon, and NCAA freshman phenom Destin Lasco.
- Blair Stoneburg from Jensen Beach High School opened the record-breaking early with a 1:57.83 in the 200 free. That makes her the first-ever swimmer under 2 minutes in that event in a high school meet. It crushes the old National HS Record (and public school record) of 2:00.38 that was set by Amanda Weir of Brookwood High School in Georgia in 2003. The Independent high schools record remains a 2:00.70, set by Addison Smith of the Baylor School in 2018.
- Stoneburg later broke two records en route to the finish in the 500 meter free. NISCA recognizes both a 400 meter and a 500 meter freestyle record, and Stoneburg broke both records in the same swim (though we’ll wait for NISCA confirmation on the split). First she swam 4:08.12 at the 400 meter split, which crushed the official public school (and unofficial overall high school) record of 4:12.68 done by Erica Laning of Hardin Valley Academy (TN) in 2016.. That split was taken on the turn “to the feet.” She then finished the 500 in 5:10.56, whacking 14 seconds off the old record. The previous public school record in the 500 meter free was a 5:24.40, set by Joanna Thomas of Mainland Regional in 2006. The 500 meter free isn’t swum at any serious level outside of high school competition.
- The first boys’ record went to Josh Zuchowski in the 200 IM. He swam 1:58.89 to become the first male under 2 minutes in a high school meet. The old Independent high schools record was a 2:00.37 set by Matthew Fallon of the Pingry School in 2019. The previous fastest time ever in high school competition was a 2:00.14 by Mainland Regional’s Destin Lasco in 2018.
- He later added a second record thanks to a 53.77 in the 100 backstroke. That broke his own record of 53.80 that was set just a week ago in the same pool. Destin Lasco still owns the public school record in 53.28.
- Erika Pelaez took down a pair of national records individually. First she swam 25.01 in the 50 free, which breaks the old Independent high schools record of 25.75 done by The Baylor School’s Sloane Pitman in 2008. It was also half-a-second faster than the public school record of 25.54, which was set by former Stanford All-American Sam Woodward of Edmond Memorial High in Oklahoma in 2006.
- Pelaez came back and swam 54.75 in the 100 free. That annhialated the National Independent high schools record in the 100 free that previously was also Sloane Pitman’s at 56.59 from 2008. Amanda Weir retains the public schools record in 55.66.
- The revelation of the record-setters was Saint Andrew’s sophomore Aspen Gersper, who won the 100 fly in 1:01.01. That shaved .05 seconds off the old record of 1:01.06 set by another Floridian, Claire Maiocco of Trinity Pepp, in 2015.
- Saint Andrew’s School broke the independent school records in both free relays. First in the 200 free, Gersper, Logan Zielinski, Nicole Aguilar, and Erin Miller combined for a 1:45.70. That broke the old record of 1:46.37 that was set by The Baylor School in 2018. Then in the 400 free relay, Gersper, Aguilar, Ella Martinez, and Miller combined for 3:49.26. That broke the independent and overall high school records of 3:50.57 set by the Baylor School in 2008.
Florida is one of the first states to begin their high school season, and also one of the first to conclude it. The regular season in Florida ends on October 16 with state championship meets running in early November – just 61 days away.
Stoneburg, a senior headed to Wisconsin next season, is already a 5-time individual state champion. They finished 3rd at the 2A state meet last season. Zuchowski, who is Stanford-bound, is also a 5-time individual state champion. The King’s Academy team finished 5th at the 1A meet last season.
Gersper as just a sophomore is already the defending 1A champion in the 100 fly and 100 back for Saint Andrew’s School, one of the state’s storied programs and the 1A runners-up last season. Pelaez is also just a sophomore, but already has 4 state titles in Class 1A: she is the two-time defending 50 and 100 freestyle, races that she won in both 2019 as an 8th grader and 2020 as a 9th grader.
Final Team Scores
- Saint Andrew’s School – 345
- The King’s Academy – 281
- South Florida HEAT – 207
- Jensen Beach High School – 173
- Lake Worth Christian Defenders – 17
- Saint Andrew’s School – 352
- The King’s Academy – 328
- South Florida HEAT – 178
- Jensen Beach High School – 110
- Lake Worth Christian – 19