There are so many great swims at this time of year that it makes our job quite difficult. Here are the handful we have selected to our list of Weekly Wonders for the weekend of August 5-7, 2016:
Emily Ecker, 13, Portland Porpoise Swim Club: 1500m free (17:46.25) – Swimming at the USA Swimming Futures Championships in College Park, Maryland, Ecker dropped 36 seconds to finish 12th in the women’s 1500 free. She was over 1 minute faster than she’d been at this time last year. Ecker also picked up new PBs in the 400 free and 800 free, just two weeks after having swum best times in the 200 free, 200 fly, and 400 IM.
Noah Brune, 14, Mission Viejo Nadadores: 1500m free (15:45.17) – Brune scored his first 2016 Olympic Trials cut with his second-place finish in the men’s 1500 free at the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Stanford, California. He dropped 18.4 seconds off his seed time, and despite coming home in a speedy 28.7 (almost as fast as his going-out 50), missed the top step of the podium by .03. Brune has dropped 1:12 since last summer and moved 24th to 6th on the all-time list for 13-14 boys. He also went a best time in the 800 free and sits at #10 on the all-time list.
Juli Arzave, 14, South Bay Aquatics: 1500m free (17:13.14) – Swimming at the Stanford Futures meet, Arzave improved by 12.5 seconds in the 1500, a week after she had dropped 4.2 seconds. She finished third in the event and picked up her first Summer Juniors cut. Arzave also went best times in the 400 free and 800 free at the meet.
Ethan Harder, 16, Billings Aquatic Club: 200m back (2:04.89) – Harder dropped a whopping 2.1 seconds in prelims to qualify 7th for finals of the men’s 200 back at Speedo Junior Nationals. Although he went a tiny bit slower in finals, it was his second-best lifetime swim, making two sub-2:05.3 swims on the same day, when last year at this time he was a 2:09-mid 200 backstroker. The previous weekend harder had gone best times in the 200 free, 50/200 back, and 50 fly at the Montana Summer Long Course State Championships.
Michael Hampel, 17, Owensboro Marlin Swimming: 100m breast (1:04.07) – Hampel won the men’s 100 breast and was runner-up in the 200 breast at the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Atlanta. His 100 time was a PB by .3, and 1.9 faster than at the same time last year; his 200 was a PB by 9/10. Hampel also earned a new best time in the 200 IM, going 2.3 seconds faster than his seed time.
Hudson Smith, 17, Brenham Swim Club: 200m breast (2:19.55) – Smith dropped 2.4 seconds off his previous time, and was 4.1 seconds faster than he’d been a year ago, with his third-place finish in the men’s 200 breast at USA Swimming Futures Championships in Austin. Smith was an A finalist in the 200 IM and 400 IM, and won the B finals of the 400 free and 100 breast in Austin. His 400 free time was a personal best by 1 second.
Caleb Rist, 12, Minot YMCA Swim Club: 100m fly (1:04.19) – Rist dropped 1.8 seconds to make the championship final of the boys’ 11-12 100 fly at the USA Swimming Central Zone 14 and Under Mega Zone Meet at the IUPUI Natatorium. Rist was 8.6 faster than he’d been a year ago when he finished sixth in the event. He was also an A-finalist in 50 free and 50 fly, and a B-finalist in the 100/200 free, and he finished the weekend with new times in the 50/100/200 free and 50/100 fly.
Ryan Husband, 14, Northwest Arkansas Aquatics: 200m IM (2:13.67) – Husband improved his seed time by 2 seconds to qualify sixth in the boys’ 13-14 200 IM at the Central Zone Mega Zone Meet at IUPUI Natatorium. He then 2.7 seconds off his time to move up to fourth in the event. In addition, Husband was an A-finalist in the 50/100/200 free and a B-finalist in the 400 free. He went home with new times in the 50/100/200/400 free, 100 back, and 200 IM.
Reminder: The Weekly Wonders column is a celebration of age-group swimming, where new champions are made every day. Anyone can look up the top swims of the week. That’s not what we’re doing here. If we were only reporting on the week’s top swims we would feature the same handful of athletes every Wednesday. Instead, this is an opportunity to introduce the swimming community to athletes who have made great strides in the context of their own particular swimming worlds. By association, it also celebrates their coaches and their teams. The Weekly Wonders column, therefore, amounts to a pat on the back for a job well done, and hopefully encourages swimmers of all levels to continue to reach from within to get to that next level.
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