2022 Southern Zone South Sectionals: Day 3 Finals Live Recap

by Ben Dornan 50

February 12th, 2022 Club, National, News, Previews & Recaps


The third night of racing at the 2022 Southern Zone South Sectionals will feature an exciting showdown between 50 freestyle elites as Bruno Fratus, Caeleb Dressel, and Michael Andrew go head to head in the men’s 50 freestyle final. Fratus was the fastest man in the heats, but both Dressel and Andrew will be in the mix, each hoping to get their hand on the wall first.

While Dressel and Fratus only have the 50 freestyle tonight, Andrew is slated to race the 200 IM first, in which he posted a 2:01.84 prelim.

Florida-trained Olympians Katie Ledecky and Natalie Hinds are both set to race as well, having swum their way to top seeds in the 400 freestyle (4:04.25) and 50 freestyle (25.44), respectively.

Women’s 100 Backstroke

Top 3:

  1. Addison Sauickie – 1:03.26
  2. Megan Wheeler – 1:03.60
  3. Maeve Eckerman – 1:04.76

After Megan Wheeler established the quickest time in the field during prelims, Addison Sauickie managed to overtake Wheeler during the final, winning the heat in a 1:03.26. Sauickie dropped exactly a second from her prelims swim of 1:04.26, while Wheeler also improved from a 1:04.00 in the morning to a 1:03.60 for second place.

Sauickie was well under her entry time in the event of 1:05.19, while Wheeler finished just over her entry time of 1:03.47. This is Sauickie’s second top-three finish of the meet following her third-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:01.08).

Maeve Eckerman repeated her third-place rank from the 100 back prelims, hitting a 1:04.76 during the final, while Taylor Schwenk was 4th in a 1:05.69.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

Top 3:

  1. Yezeil Morales – 56.57
  2. Felipe Costa – 57.78
  3. Luigi Franco – 57.80

Yezeil Morales completed a two-part sweep of the backstroke sprints here with a 100 backstroke victory two days after placing first in the 50 (26.72). Morales’ winning time in the event was a 56.57, which is 0.09 better than what he swam during prelims and within two seconds of his own PB and Puerto Rican national record of 54.89 from last year.

Fellow Trinity Prep Aquatics swimmers Felipe Costa and Luigi Franco came in after Morales for 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Costa jumped from 5th in prelims with a 59.08 to 2nd in the final with a 57.78. That marks Costa’s first time under 58 in the event, having previously held a PB of 58.47 in the event from June 2021.

Franco on the other hand posted a 58.01 in the prelims and got 0.21 seconds faster in the final to claim 3rd place. Franco, a UC San Diego commit, also got under 58 for the first time here, having entered the meet with a 58.10.

Women’s 200 IM

Top 3:

  1. Gracie Weyant – 2:16.75
  2. Julie Brousseau – 2:18.43
  3. Nicole Frank Rodriguez – 2:18.68

Gracie Weyant of the Sarasota Sharks showed up in a big way here, delivering a 2:16.75 200 IM to claim victory by nearly 2 seconds. Weyant, who swam a 2:19.44 has also improved upon her lifetime best in the event by roughly two seconds, getting down from the 2:18.71 she swam in February 2020.

Weyant was a member of Team USA’s junior contingent that swam at the FINA World Cup meet in Budapest during the fall of 2021. Weyant posted a short course 200 IM time of 2:16.59, which she’s now nearly surpassed in the long course pool.

Julie Brousseau and Nicole Frank Rodriguez also shaved some time off their prelims performances in the final as they competed for the second-place spot. Ultimately, Brousseau touched first in a 2:18.43 compared to her 2:20.88 morning swim and Rodriguez got down from a 2:19.63 prelim to a 2:18.68 for third in the final.

Men’s 200 IM

Top 3:

  1. Michael Andrew – 2:00.51
  2. Julio Horrego – 2:06.27
  3. Dario Martin – 2:07.45

Michael Andrew won the 200 IM by a decent here, posting a 2:00.51 to Julio Horrego‘s 2:06.27. Andrew was quicker than his morning swim of 2:01.84 but was still far off his PB of 1:55.26 from Olympic Trials and the 1:57.31 he swam at the Olympics.

This was a precursor for Andrew for a marquee battle later in the session where he’ll swim against Tokyo medalists Caeleb Dressel and Bruno Fratus.

Julio Horrego managed to go from 4th in the prelims to 2nd in the final, dropping from a 2:08.53 to a 2:06.27. That swim got him to the wall more than a second before Dario Martin who swam a 2:07.45 for third.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Top 3:

  1. Natalie Hinds – 25.45
  2. Sirena Rowe – 26.19
  3. Manita Sathianchokwisan – 26.27

Natalie Hinds got the job done in the 50 freestyle with an event-winning swim of 25.45 but was a touch slower than her morning time in the event of 25.44. Hinds has a lifetime best time of 25.02 in this event from back in 2019 and got close to that time at the Olympic Trials in 2021 when she swam a 25.14 for 11th in the semi-finals.

Hinds will have one more big race tomorrow in the form of the 100 freestyle, which is the event in which she qualified for the Tokyo Games.

There was a cut-throat race behind Hinds for second place as 2nd through 7th place finished within 0.63 seconds of each other. Sirena Rowe, tied for 3rd in the prelims with a 26.51, came second in the final with a 26.19. Right behind her Manita Sathianchokwisan swam a 26.27 to get in right ahead of Marina Spadoni’s 26.29.

Zoe Skirboll was 5th overall with a 26.61, a touch slower than her 2nd place prelims swim of 26.47, while Addison Reese followed in a 26.63, and Blair Stoneburg came in 7th with a 26.82. Kiara Caamano rounded out the heat with a 27.00.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Top 3:

  1. Caeleb Dressel – 21.89
  2. Bruno Fratus – 22.20
  3. Michael Andrew – 23.32

American record holder Caeleb Dressel came out on top in the men’s 50 freestyle final as he dipped under 22 seconds with a 21.89. Dressel’s swim was fast enough to take out Bruno Fratus‘ meet record from back in 2020 of 21.97.

Fratus was a bit slower than his performance 2 years ago, hitting a 22.20, but was still 0.74 seconds quicker than his prelims swim of 22.94. Both Dressel and Fratus trailed their performances in Tokyo where Dressel swam a 21.07 for gold and Fratus a 21.55 for bronze.

Michael Andrew was a little further back, swimming a 23.32 for third place, which is slower than what he swam in prelims (22.97). Andrew swam this final just minutes after winning the 200 IM in a 2:00.51.

4th place finisher Larry Salls was close to catching Andrew here with a 23.47, while Sage Sungail delivered a 23.61 for 5th.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

Top 3:

  1. Katie Ledecky – 4:00.95
  2. Michaela Mattes – 4:12.04
  3. Blair Stoneburg – 4:15.35

Katie Ledecky pulled off yet another expected win in the 400 freestyle, throwing down a 4:00.95 400 freestyle. After surpassing her time from the Tokyo Games in both the 200 and 800 freestyles, Ledecky was a bit slower here than the 3:57.36 she swam for Olympic silver.

A 4:00.95 is nonetheless a very solid in-season swim for Ledecky and still would have gotten her bronze at the most recent Olympic Games.

Michaela Mattes of the Sarasota Sharks had a strong swim of her own in the final and shave 2.50 seconds off her morning swim of 4:14.54. Mattes swam a 4:12.04 to take more than 2 seconds off her PB in the event of 4:14.41.

Blair Stoneburg had a very quick turnaround between the 50 freestyle and 400 freestyle, with only the men’s 50 freestyle in between. Stoneburg followed up her 7th place finish in the 50 with a 3rd place finish in the 400, touching in a 4:15.35.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

Top 3:

  1. Aryan Nehra – 3:59.65
  2. Amadeusz Knop – 4:00.41
  3. Kayden Lancaster – 4:05.58

University of Florida freshman Aryan Nehra picked up his second top 3 performance of the meet here following his 2nd place finish in the 800 freestyle on night 1. Nehra claimed victory in the 400 freestyle by getting under 4 minutes with a 3:59.65. He was a little slower than his 3:58.34 entry time but was quick enough to defeat Amadeusz Knop‘s 4:00.41.

His 400 freestyle here was quicker than both his entry time of 4:01.99 and his prelims swim of 4:04.80. Knop placed third in the 800 freestyle on night 1.

Kayden Lancaster rounded out the top three with a 4:05.58, jumping up from fifth place in the heats with a 4:07.75.

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2 years ago

MA was 29.96 in the freestyle leg. His blood flow restriction regime with his new snake must be paying off!

Barbossa Andrew 🐍
Reply to  Greg
2 years ago

I indeed have super powers

Steve Nolan
2 years ago

A 4:00.95 is nonetheless a very solid in-season swim for Ledecky and still would have gotten her bronze at the most recent Olympic Games.

I mean, idk the proper way to determine this, but wouldn’t it still have gotten a silver? Given she was one of the two faster swims, y’know?

2 years ago

MA ‘conserved energy’….and then went 23.32???

Reply to  Yup
2 years ago

Sub 30 hell yeaaa!!!

Team Regan
2 years ago

MA makes me cringe

2 years ago

You don’t need to say you are talking about Michael Andrew when you write “conserving energy for the 50”

We know. Nobody conserves energy at the end of his races like that guy.

Last edited 2 years ago by SCCOACH
2 years ago

I’m an Aussie.
I’m looking at Ledecky’s winning time 4.00.95 & saying, just amazing.
Let’s put in perspective.
Only 3 women has gone faster without a supersuit.
Leah Smith, once just.
Titmus 7 times.
Ledecky a Zillion times.

Ledecky is a Legend & Titmus has admitted, she would not be swimming her times without Ledecky to chase.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Robbos
2 years ago

Doesn’t matter .Team Anglo-Saxon will go 123 .

2 years ago

4:00.95 for Queen Ledecky 🔥 . Took it out in 1:59.94, but didn’t pick up tempo until the 150-250. Re-slowed tempo for the 250-300, increased tempo from the 300-350, and smoothed back out for the final lap. I’ve never seen that strategy from her, playing around with something different? Maybe trying to see if less tempo on the final lap would be more beneficial after increasing on the penultimate 50.

Last edited 2 years ago by wow
2 years ago

Was there any doubt that Caeleb was going to be under 22.0 in the final of a 50 free? He could sleepwalk/swimwalk that time.