Grace Ariola, Waves Bloomington/Normal Y Swim Team, Bloomington IL
Grace Ariola had a huge 2013, ending the year with 16 top-ten swims for 11-12 girls, including six number one times. Four of those number ones (100 free, 50/100/200 back) were in long-course meters, which is all the more remarkable considering she aged up just before the summer. No other 11-12 girl was able to topple her times from the middle of May until the end of August. The other two first-place swims were the 200y free and 400y IM.
Ariola aged out of the 11-12s with four short-course Illinois Swimming LSC records (100/200y back [56.41/2:03.66], and 100/200y IM [58.77/2:06.59]) and four long-course LSC records (100m free [59.44], 50/100/200m back [30.57/1:05.02/2:20.10]). When she aged up at the beginning of the summer, Ariola went right to work on the 13/14 LSC records. At Summer Juniors she broke Illinois Swimming’s 13/14 girls’ 200 back record with 2:17.08. This fall she broke the state’s records in 13/14 girls’ 100 back (55.41, beating the old record set by Melissa Marik in 2003 by nearly a second) and 13/14 girls’ 200 back (1:57.11, a 3.7-second improvement from Audrey Guyett’s 2012 time). Ariola closes out 2013 with five top-ten times for 13-year-old girls, including the number one 200 back in the country. Ariola’s coach at Bloomington/Normal YST is Heather Fort.
- It’s hard to believe the times coming from these 12-year-old girls. Sinead Eksteen of Nation’s Capital Swim Club, for example, was the nation’s top 12-and-under distance freestyler, posting times that high schoolers would be proud of. She finished the year with fourteen top-ten swims, including the number one 800m and 1500m frees, and 500/1000/1650y frees. As a 13-year-old she ends 2013 with six top-ten times.
- Vivian Wang of SUNN Swimming also had fourteen swims that finished in the top ten for 2013. What’s most impressive about her is that they occurred in every stroke. Her LCM top-tens were 50/100m free, 50/100m back, 100m breast, 100m fly, and 200m IM; short-course included 50/100y free, 50y back, 100y breast, 50y fly, and 100/200y IM. Wang also has three top ten swims for 13-year-olds.
- Madison Homovich of North Carolina Aquatic Club had an incredible 2013. As a 12-year-old she had eleven top-ten times in the country, including two North Carolina Swimming LSC records: 11-12 girls’ 1000y free (10:18.11) and 200m fly (2:24.54). Although she aged up in the early spring, she managed to keep an astonishing seven short-course swims in the top ten at year’s end. She currently sits atop the 13-year-old short course rankings with six number one times (200/500/1000y free, 200y fly, 200/400y IM).
- Then there’s Alexandra Walsh of Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club, who will still be 12 next summer. The NAG-watchers might want to keep Walsh in their sights; her 100y back (55.98) is only 3/10 off Janet Hu’s and Kathleen Baker’s shared NAG of 55.68 and her 200y back (2:01.14) is less than two seconds away from Kylie Stewart’s NAG of 1:59.49. Her 50/100y breast (29.85/1:04.88) are within shooting distance of Olivia Anderson’s 2010 NAGs of 29.23/1:02.86, and her 100y IM (58.30) could challenge Kathleen Baker’s 57.62 from 2010. Although she is a bit further from the long-course NAGs, she does have the entire summer of 2014 to make a run at them.
Andrew Trepanier, South Metro Storm Swim Club, Lakeville MN
There was a lot of competition for Swimmer of the Year among 11-12 boys, with no fewer than seven boys ending the year with 10 or more national top-ten times. Andrew Trepanier, coached by Phil Smith with South Metro Storm, had a particularly outstanding 2013. He wrapped up the year with twelve 11-12 boys’ national top-ten times (50/100m fr, 50/100m bk, 50/100m fl, 50/100y fr, 100y bk, 50/100y fly, 100y IM) before aging up in the middle of the fall. In only three meets as a 13-year-old he has already established the nation’s top times in the 100y free and 100y fly.
Trepanier was the top 11-12 boy in the country in the 100m free (55.66), 50m back (29.05), and 50/100m fly (27.24/1:01.40) during long-course season, and in the 50/100y fly (24.46/54.12) in short-course. He set Minnesota state records for 11-12 boys in the 50/100 free, 50/100 back, and 50/100 fly in both short-course yards and long-course meters. Trepanier is off to a fast start as a teenager; his 100 fly is only 9/10 short of the Minnesota state record for 13/14 boys, set by his teammate Marshall Heskin in 2012.
- Two boys from Kentucky make the honorable mention list for 2013: Zachary Hils of Wildcat Aquatics and Will Tarvestad of Triton Swimming. Between the two of them they re-set nearly all the Kentucky Swimming LSC 11-12 boys’ short- and long-course records during the year.
- Hils swam fourteen 11-12 top-ten times in 2013 (100/200/400m fr, 50/100m bk, 200m IM and 50/100/200/500y fr, 100/200y bk, 200/400y IM) and was the fastest in the nation in the 100y free and 400y IM. He aged up just before Nashville Aquatic Club’s NIKE Music City Invitational, where he managed six top-ten 13-year-old times. Hils’ Kentucky LSC records include: 50/100m back, 200m IM, 500y free, 100/200y back, 200y IM.
- Tarvestad had eleven top-ten times (50/100/200/400m fr, 50m bk, 50/100m fl, 100/200/500y fr, 50y bk), including the number one 50m free and 200m free in the country. As a 13-year-old he currently has the number two 50y free and the number two 200y free in the country. Tarvestad set Kentucky state 11-12 boys’ records in 50/110/200/400m free, 50/100m fly, 50/100/200y free, 50y back, and 50/100y fly.
- Another swimmer who deserves attention is Shane Blinkman of Hudson Area Swimming Association. Blinkman, who is still 12, landed thirteen swims in the top ten (100m fr, 100/200m bk, 50/100/200m breast, 200m IM and 100y fr, 200y bk, 50/100y br, 100/200y IM), including the number one 200m IM and 100y IM in the nation. In addition, he is the owner of an incredible number of Minnesota state records for 11-12 boys (50/100/200m breast and 200m IM long-course and 200y free, 200y back, 50/100/200y breast and 200y IM.
- We’d be remiss not to mention Luca Kravchenko’s twelve top-ten swims (50/100/200/400/800m fr, 50/100m bk and 100/200/500y fr, 50/100y bk). His 4:48 500y free was the top 12-year-old swim in the country by 7 seconds. Kravchenko swims for Central Brevard Swimming Islanders. This fall he broke the Florida Swimming LSC record in the 11-12 boys’ 50 back (25.72).
A Very Special Honorable Mention goes out to this year’s NAG record-breakers.
- Yezan Alsader of Waves Bloomington/Normal Y Swim Team broke the boys’ 11-12 400m IM NAG record twice. The first time was in June, at the Gulf Coast Swim Team Summer Invitational, where his 4:54.24 took down Florida All-American Nick Caldwell’s 2006 mark of 4:54.92. At Minnesota’s Sectional meet in July he shaved another two seconds off his record, going 4:52.24. In addition, Alsader ended 2013 with nine other times in the top ten. (200/400/800/1500m fr, 100/200m bk, 100/200m fly, 200m IM).
- Seth Chun of Arizona Gold Swimming tied Ryan Murphy’s 2008 NAG in the 200 fly with 2:14.40. He had three other top-ten times for 2013: 100m fly, 400m IM, and 200y fly.
- Destin Lasco of Pleasantville Aquatics broke the 100y back NAG with a 54.03. Lasco, who won’t age up until next summer, finished 2013 with six more top-ten times (200m bk, 200y fr, 200y bk, 100/200/400Y IM.
- And last but not least, T2 Aquatics’ Matthew Limbacher was the country’s fastest 11-12 boy in the 50/100m breast. He broke the 50m breast NAG record at the 2013 T2 Aquatics Norris Foundation LC Meet in May. Limbacher was also top-ten in the 50/100y breast.