Alex Kovtounenko, 10, Breaks Michael Phelps’ Eastern Zone Age Group Meet Record in 100 Fly

2024 Eastern Zone Age Group Championships

Orca Swim Club 10-year-old Alex Kovtounenko broke Michael Phelps’ meet record in the 100-yard butterfly at the Eastern Zone Age Group Championships last month in Webster, New York.

Kovtounenko won the 100 fly with a time of 59.29, dropping more than a second off his previous-best 1:00.52 from February. In the process, he shot up to 4th in the U.S. boys’ 10-and-under national age group (NAG) rankings and erased Phelps’ Eastern Zone Age Group meet record of 1:00.06 from way back in 1996. Only Thomas Heilman (58.36), Hunter Zenerovitz (59.13), and Evan Trejo (59.23) have ever been faster among 10-and-under Americans.

Kovtounenko also took down Phelps’ meet record in the 50 fly with a winning mark of 27.11, sneaking under the 23-time Olympic champion’s standard of 27.19 from 1996. He had never been under 28 seconds in the event before the meet as his previous-best stood at 28.05 from February. He now ranks 8th in the NAG rankings.

Kovtounenko secured another victory in the 50 free (25.53), narrowly missing Frankie Genna’s decade-old meet record of 25.48 from 2014. He dropped almost a second off his previous-best 26.32 from January, moving up to No. 46 in the NAG rankings.

Kovtounenko wasn’t the only 10-year-old boy breaking records from the 1990s at Eastern Zones this year. Bluefish Swim Club’s Matthew Laporte toppled a pair of Brian Fiske’s New England LSC records from 1996 with impressive performances in the 200 IM (2:15.52) and 100 back (1:02.20). Fiske’s standards in the 200 IM (2:18.67) and 100 back (1:04.92) went untouched for 27 years, and he still owns two standards in the 200 free (1:58.60) and 100 IM (1:03.90).

Laporte dropped almost five seconds in the 200 IM off his previous-best 2:20.10 from February, rocketing up to 15th in the 10-and-under NAG rankings. He also knocked almost three seconds off his previous-best 100 back time of 1:05.08 from February to rank 31st in the NAG rankings.

Laporte picked up two more wins in the 200 free (2:02.59) and 500 free (5:28.37) while also earning a runner-up finish in the 100 fly (1:02.30). He dropped two seconds in both the 200 free and 500 free, moving up to 56th and 75th in the NAG rankings, respectively. He reached the wall more than three seconds behind Kovtounenko in the 100 fly, but his 2nd-place finish still propelled him to 55th in the NAG rankings — an illustration of just how fast Kovtounenko’s swim was.

Like Kovtounenko, Whitewater Swimming 12-year-old Ethan Han also broke a couple meet records from the ’90s in the 50 breast (28.04) and 100 back (54.71). He dropped almost a second in the 100 back off his previous-best 55.50 from January, in the process taking down Scott Champagne’s meet record (55.51) from 1999. In the 50 breast, Han was just off his personal-best 28.01 from January, but he still lowered Chris Miller’s 30-year-old meet record (28.24) from way back in 1994. He now ranks 12th in the 11-12 NAG rankings for the 100 IM and 26th in the 100 back.

Han also posted lifetime bests in the 200 IM (2:00.14) and 200 free (1:50.26). He improved upon his previous-best 200 IM time of 2:02.55 from January, jumping up to 23rd in the NAG rankings.

Jihuan Yang showed off his versatility with victories in the 100 IM (1:03.35), 50 breast (32.59), 100 breast (1:10.85), and 100 free (56.68). In the 100 IM, he was within half a second of a decade-old meet record belonging to Frankie Genna (1:02.91) from 2014.

Girls Recap

Badger Swim Club 10-year-old Vanessa Delev turned heads in the 200 free with her win in 2:00.39, dropping more than three seconds and breaking Kristen Frost’s Eastern Zone Age Group meet record (2:01.84) from 1998. She now ranks 10th in the 10-and-under NAG rankings after demolishing her previous-best 2:03.68 from December.

Delev also delivered victories in the 200 IM (2:18.30), 100 free (56.35), 50 fly, and 100 IM (1:05.07). She was the only swimmer under a minute in the 100 free, slicing more than half a second off her lifetime best to get within half a second of Zoe Skirboll’s meet record (55.92) from 2015. Delev now ranks 34th in the NAG rankings for the 100 free. In the 100 IM, he dropped more than half a second to move up to 61st in the NAG rankings.

Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics 13-year-old Elizabeth “Milly” Birch dropped more than two seconds in the 200 back (2:02.11) to break Karly Brooks’ meet record (2:02.85) from 2001. She also triumphed in the 100 back (57.36), knocking more than a second off her best time (58.94) from earlier in March.

Bluefish Swim Club 13-year-old Liv Parent put on a distance display with victories in the 500 free (4:58.87), 1000 free (10:12.22), 1650 free (16:58.50), and 400 IM (4:28.90). She was within a second of Maggie Wallace’s meet record in the 1650 free (16:57.77 from 2014) and about a second shy of Taryn Wisner’s meet record in the 500 free (4:67.82 from 2016). Parent dropped more than eight seconds in the 1650, seven seconds in the 1000, five seconds in the 500, and four seconds in the 400 IM.

Stamford Sailfish Aquatic Club 9-year-old Annabelle Hayes pulled out a victory in the 50 back with a time of 31.05, just a blink off her best time (31.00) from February. Beth Botsford still owns meet record in the event at 28.93 from way back in 1992. Hayes added personal bests in the 200 IM (2:28.70) and 50 fly (31.54).

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1 month ago

damn! and with 0 streamlines lol

1 month ago

What an amazing swim for this young dude does anyone know when he turns 11?

1 month ago

He has so few underwaters! Is this normal for 10u fast butterfliers? What was Thomas Heilman’s like?

1 month ago

Heilman being 58.3 at age 10 is outrageous.

1 month ago

Slava Ukraini! 🇺🇦

Reply to  Eugene
1 month ago

Heroiam Slava!

1 month ago

This young gentleman is THe Star already

Johnson Swim school
Reply to  Oleg
1 month ago

His coach need to work on his fly kicks under water

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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