2022 Southern Zone Age Group Championships
- July 26-30
- Tupelo Aquatic Center
- Tupelo, Mississippi
- Results on Meet Mobile: “2022 Southern Zones Age Group Championship”
Tom Cui catapulted into the top 10 rankings for the boys 11-12 national age group (NAG) by shaving more than a second off his best 100-meter butterfly time at last weekend’s Southern Zone Age Group Championships, clocking a 1:00.92 to become the 10th-fastest all-time.
It was one six events at the meet where Cui cracked the top 40 NAG rankings. In a fast 50 back final, the Dynamo Swim Club sprinter triumphed with a 29.52, second-fastest this season among 12-year-old boys and 31st all-time. Runner-up Eric Xu and third-place finisher Wilson York also posted top-10 times this season in the event. In the 100 back, Xu got even with a victory in 1:03.41, third this season and 22nd all-time for his NAG.
Cui also cracked the top 40 in the 50 back, 100 back (1:03.98), and 100 free (56.70) while tying for 43rd in the 50 fly (28.02).
When he wasn’t going up against quick backstroke competition such as Cui and Xu, York dominated. The Lakeside Swim Team standout won the 50 breast with a 32.25, a nation-leading time this season and 12th all-time in his NAG. It was one of four wins for York, who also went 2:17.61 in the 200 IM to become the 11th-fastest all-time in his NAG, but just the third-fastest this season for his age.
In the 50 fly, York reached the wall in 27.82, a personal best that makes him the fifth-fastest this season among 12-year-old boys nationally. He cruised to a 1:09.92 in the 100 breast, just off his personal-best 1:09.81 that ranks fourth all-time in his NAG. York also tallied a personal best in the 50 back, a 30.04 that ranks No. 6 this season for his age but only placed third in the final.
On the girls side, Peyton Williams fired off five personal bests to continue her recent tear.
The City of Mobile Swim Association 12-year-old won the 100-meter freestyle final with a 58.64, rocketing up to 16th all-time in the girls 11-12 national age group (NAG). It’s also the top time for her age this season. Williams is red-hot, with her six fastest times in the event all taking place in the past month.
In the 50 free, Williams blazed a 27.23 to place first and tie for third this season among 12-year-old girls. Her third victory of the meet came in the 100 breaststroke, where she clocked a 1:17.98 to move up to No. 8 this season for her age.
A huge swim by North Carolina Aquatic Club’s Yari Brock prevented Williams from pulling off another victory in the 200 free. Brock posted a 2:06.85 to edge Williams by .29 seconds in a historically fast final, with Brock becoming the 18th-fastest swimmer in her NAG and Williams close behind at No. 23. Brock took nearly three seconds off her previous best from just 11 days prior, while Williams’ 2:07.14 marked her best time by more than a second.
Williams put down a personal best in the 100 fly final, where she placed second less than a tenth of a second behind Ellie Stanley (personal-best 1:05.16). Stanley’s time makes her the fourth-fastest 12-year-old girl this season. Stanley also earned a runner-up finish in the 50 fly with a personal-best 29.83. Brock picked up another win in the 200 IM, but she was just off her personal best from last month. Brock also finished less than a second behind Williams in the 100 free with a time of 59.43, just off her personal best that ranks second this season and 37th all-time in her NAG.
- 14-year-old Albert Smelzer won the 50 free with a time of 23.79, taking a tenth of a second off his Summer Nationals cut from two weeks earlier. The Greensboro Swimming Association standout is now the third-fastest this season for his age. Smelzer also split a blazing 27.46 opening backstroke leg for his victorious 200 medley relay team from North Carolina Swimming, also third-fastest this season among 14-year-old boys. In the 100 back, he placed second with a 1:00.01 to become the 13th-fastest performer this season.
- 11-year-old Heba Fouitah of Aiken-Augusta Swim League impressed with a runner-up finish in the 50 back, clocking a 31.38 that ranks top in the country this season for her age. In the 100 back, Fouitah swam a 1:09.50, placing third with a time that ranks third this season among 11-year-old girls.
- Greensboro YMCA’s Reina Liu lowered her best 50 back time to 31.27, which ranks her as the fifth-fastest performer among 12-year-old girls this season. Liu also put up personal bests on the 50 fly (30.40) and 400 free (4:41.98).