This past week offered a great mix of high school and club swimming for us to look at, including the first true weekend of USA Swimming meets to kick off the 2011-2012 short course season. There was also an outstanding duel in one of the country’s best high school rivalries.
Please remember to post any results from your swimmers in the comments so that we can recognize them!
First we’ll start in North Carolina, where one of the brightest swimmers in the class of 2012, Faith Johnson, sunk her teeth into the STAR Triad Tune Up invitational meet in North Carolina. She broke off a 23.0 to win the 50 free and a 51.1 to win the 100 free. When compared to her season-opening times from last year, this has her on pace to go about a 22.0 in the 50 free and a sub-49 in the 100 free for the first time in her career, which leaves her as one of the top sprinters (currently ranked 22nd overall by collegeswimming.com) in one an extremely deep women’s class. Amongst her credentials, she’s got the 2011 Junior National title in the 50 to her name and has finaled at the Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix.
All of this is even more impressive if you consider that she’s a year younger than your typical high school senior. Her 17th birthday is coming up in October, whereas most of her competition is looking at their 18th birthdays during the upcoming academic year.
(Also, check out the Star Aquatics website here. They’ve got an awesome intro video on the home page).
Across the country in Arizona, Jocelyn Wang showed that she’s got some serious sprinting skills as well. At the first Arizona Fall Festival meet, Wang’s first as a 13-year old, she already snagged a 54.33 in the 100 free to earn her first “AAAA” time standard in her new age group. To start off a season within a second of the time that she tapered to the year prior is an indication of some hard work put in over the summer and the possibility of a great 2011-2012 year.
On the boys side, the higlight this week was 12-year old Jason Paquette, who posted a 59.53 in the 100 fly at the Sunsational Invitational in Georgia. Swimming the entire meet against in the open age group against high school swimmers, Paquette held his own to finish 3rd in that 100 fly, win the 200 fly (2:13.95), and place 2nd in the 200 IM (2:13.86).
His Georgia Coastal Aquatic Team is doing a great job of developing young butterfliers. Also in this meet was 12-year old Brennan Pastorek, who posted a 1:05.38 in that same race, and 10-year old Adri Torres, with a solid 1:22.08 to win that age group.
Back out West to Arizona, this time in Scottsdale, 9-year old Tanner Falls posted a phenomenal 1:08.54 to win the 100 fly at the Scottsdale Aquatic Club Quad Meet. Not only is that faster than any other 9-or-10-year old has gone this season, it makes him by four-seconds the fastest 9-year old butterflier ever in the state of Arizona. He’s in fact the first 9-year old Arizonan in the history of the SWIMS database to achieve a “AAAA” time in the age group in this event. Kicking a season off with a four-second time drop has got to be a great feeling, and he’s still got a few more months as a 9-year old to take the stroke even higher.
(For reference, the fastest ever time by a 9-year old was done by Gray Umbach in 2004 at 1:03.89. Umbach is currently a senior at The Woodlands High School in Texas, and is one of the top recruits in this year’s class.)
In high school action, Wisconsin’s three-time defending state girls champions (and winner of 9 out of 10) Arrowhead High got their season off to a quick start at the Kenosha Tremper Invite at the famed Schroeder Aquatic Center. They were missing one of their best seniors in sprinter Kate Jones, the #8 recruit in the state, who was on a recruiting trip, but still had no trouble cruising to a victory with 593 points over their big rivals Waukesha South with 542.
Arrowhead loosk to have reloaded with a ton of young talent again this year, including freshmen Maddie Barta, who took 3rd in the 100 back in 1:00.28, and freshman Lyndsay Adamski, who took 4th in the 100 breast in 1:08.4.
Haley Pietila, another Arrowhead senior (#6 in the class of 2012) posted great times in the 200 IM of 2:07.3 and 100 fre at 51.87. She’s the defending silver-medalist in the IM, and the favorite to win the State Championship this year, and that 100 free time is a phenomenal way to start off the season that will make her even more valuable to colleges this fall.
Waukesha South got great contributions from their young squad as well, which is shaping up to challenge Arrowheads state dominance after a few more years to mature. Sophomore Lizzy Baertlein won the 100 back in 58.7. That’s close to a best-time for her (58.1) and is one of the best high school marks in the country early on this season. Another South sophomore, Abby Jagdfeld, took the 200 free in 1:52.27. A third super-soph, Kaersten Meitz, became the first swimmer in the country this short course season to break five-minutes in the 500 with a 4:58.96. That would have been good enough to win the Wisconsin State Championship last year.
Also of note, Grafton’s Sam Senczyszyn was the only freshman to win an event at the meet with a 1:06.3 in the 100 breaststroke.
The two teams cut out the fluff at their annual dual-meet last night, and in what was already the team’s third meeting of the season, Arrowhead took a commanding 115-68 victory on 9 event victories. Pietila put on a show again by improving her 200 IM time to 2:06.71 and her 100 free time to 51.2.
This was a fantastic rivalry and has the sort of competitiveness that could really draw fans to high school swimming.