There were a large number of swimmers who earned their very first Olympic Trials cuts over the weekend, a few of whom are listed below. Presenting our Weekly Wonders for the weekend of June 17-19, 2016, “last ditch” edition:
Sam Disette, 17, Kansas City Swim Academy: 50m free (23.21) – Disette swam the 50 free ten times in 2016 before finally punching his ticket to Omaha in prelims at the Omaha Cup. He finished fourth with a 23.33 in finals, but the golden ticket was already his.
Anna-Julia Kutsch, 15, JCC-Aquatic Club: 50m free (25.94) – Kutsch dropped a whopping .56 seconds in the 50 free at the Richard Quick Invitational to earn her first invitation to 2016 Olympic Trials. Kutsch came into the meet with a 26.50. She had been between 26.50 and 26.80 nine times, including a 26.57 in prelims and a 26.49 in finals of the 50. She then ripped a 25.94 leading off her 100 free and qualified for Omaha.
Blaise Vera, 16, Mississippi Makos Swim Team: 50m free (23.12) – At the Sizzlin Summer Invite hosted by Southern Crescent Aquatic Team at Georgia Tech, Vera posted a lifetime-best 23.63 in prelims, then a 23.65 in finals to win the boys 15-16 50 free. Then he time-trialed the event and knocked over a half-second off his time to finish with an Omaha-worthy 23.12.
Brad Gonzales, 18, La Mirada Armada: 500m free (3:57.74) – Gonzales took just over a second off his previous personal best to earn a berth at 2016 Olympic Trials in the 400 free. Gonzales won the boys 15-18 event at the Southern California Swimming June Age Group Championships hosted by La Mirada Armada, swimming nearly alone over the second half of the race and winning by 6.3 seconds. Gonzales had also achieved a Trials cut in the 1500 in March.
Matthew Garcia, 18, Sarasota YMCA Sharks: 100m back (56.51) – Swimming at the Summer Solstice Invitational hosted by the YMCA of Central Florida, Garcia took nearly a full second off his personal best and posted the #1 time in the U.S. in the 100 back. He also dropped nearly 2.5 seconds in the 200 back, earning his first Trials cuts in both distances.
Tonner Debeer, 16, Triton Swimming: 100m back (1:03.24) – Debeer went three best times in the 100 back at the Speedo Summer Sizzler Invitational hosted by Nashville Aquatic Club at the Centennial SportsPlex. After a 1:05 in prelims, Debeer won the B final with a best-by-.7 1:03.73. She also led off Triton’s 400 medley relay with 1:03.60. But in Time Trials, Debeer crushed it with a 1:03.24, taking 1.2 seconds off her entry time. She also picked up new PBs in the 50 back, 200 back, and 400 free.
Chris Thames, 17, Metro Atlanta Aquatic Club: 200m back (2:02.18) – Thames dropped an unbelievable 2.5 seconds and punched his ticket to Omaha when scored the top 18-and-under time in the country in prelims of the 200 back at the Richard Quick Invitational. Thames also whacked 1.5 seconds off his 100 back, improving by a half-second in prelims and then winning the event with another 1-second drop in finals. Thames also picked up new times in the 50 free, 50 back and 50 fly.
MJ Mao, 17, Sun-shine Aquatics Swim Club: 100m breast (1:03.27) – Mao earned not one but two Olympic Trials cuts at the Hawaiian Swimming Senior Long Course Championships. He improved 1.2 seconds in the 100 breast and .4 in the 100 fly, winning both events. He also won the 200 breast and 200 IM. Mao finished the weekend with new PBs in the 50 free, 100 breast, 200 breast, 100 fly, and 200 IM.
Andrew Winton, 16, SwimAtlanta: 200m IM (2:05.08) – Winton punched his ticket to Omaha coming in just .01 under the time standard with a 2:05.08 in Time Trials at the Richard Quick Invitational. After swimming a 2:06.42 in prelims and a best-by-.5 2:05.23 in finals, Winton came back the next day and tried one more time. He also earned a spot at Trials with his 400 IM, dropping 1.5 seconds to go 4:26.79 in prelims.
Nicholas Perera, 16, Cincinnati Marlins: 400m IM (4:26.85) – Two weeks after notching best times in the 100 back and 200 fly, Perera was at it again at the Speedo Summer Sizzler Invitational. He topped his previous PBs in the 200 free, 200 breast, 200 IM and 400 IM, dropping nearly 4 seconds in the latter and earning his first invitation to Olympic Trials.
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.
Agon Sport LLC is in the athletic apparel, accessory, and equipment business. Currently, our customers include swimmers, water polo players, lifeguards, divers, synchronized swimmers, triathletes, cyclists, runners, and rugby players. In the future, we hope to expand the number of sports we serve. Agon creates value for athletes by creating high quality, custom-dyed athletic apparel.
Mission: Our principal objective is to help sports teams build unity, spirit, and pride by providing them with custom team apparel, accessories, and equipment.
Products: Competition swimwear, water polo gear, running uniforms, cycling jerseys, rugby jerseys, and sports equipment such as bags, banners and backstroke flags.
Swimming News is presented by Agonswim.com, a SwimSwam partner.