The Speedo Sectional event in Jenks, Oklahoma wrapped up Sunday night with continued fireworks from some of the bigger age-group names in attendance.
Elizabeth Walker of Columbia Swim Club had perhaps the biggest Sunday night breakthrough. The 17-year-old had put together a solid meet with a runner-up 400 IM finish and third places in the 500 and 1000 frees, hitting lifetime-bests in all three. But she finally climbed to the top of the results with the 1650 on Sunday, hacking 15 seconds off her personal best to win the event in 16:30.91. And Walker didn’t stop there. She also returned at the end of finals to pick up her second straight win with a 1:59.60 performance in the 200 fly, another career-best and her first time under two minutes.
Both races saw Walker top some other notable names. In the 1650, the battle for second was a rematch of the 500 free, with 14-year-olds Taylor Pike and Genevieve Pfeifer duking it out for the win. In a reversal of the 500, Pike finished first, going 16:41.77, and astounding drop of almost 40 seconds for Razorback Aquatic Club Aquahawgs. Pfeifer, competing for Flyers Aquatic Swim Team, dropped 18 seconds of her own, going 16:41.99 in a race that practically came down to fingernails.
In the 200 fly, Walker beat her teammate Chelsea Tatlow, who was searching for her fourth individual win of the weekend. Tatlow, 18, won the 400 IM and 100 fly on earlier days, and was coming off a big 200 back win just a few events earlier.
That 200 back was a dominating 1:56.27 for Tatlow, topping Kansas City Blazers 15-year-old Haley Hynes (1:59.75) and avenging Tatlow’s loss to Hynes in the 100 back the night before. Tatlow also added a 400 free relay victory, splitting a fast 49.62 on the anchor leg.
Just like the 200 back, the women’s 100 free saw a flip-flop of names at the top from a Saturday night event. Lawrence Aquatics’ Courtney Caldwell, 16 and second in the 50 free one night earlier, went 50.16 to top 50 free winner Breonna Barker, also 16 from SwimTulsa.
On the boys side, things were once again headlined by the dynamic duo of Jacob Molacek and Michael Andrew. The two battled it out in the 100 free – after Andrew won the 50 free in record-breaking fashion, Molacek got back on top in the 100. The Auburn commit put up a 43.92 to easily win the longer sprint distance. Andrew took second in 44.74 and Molacek’s high school teammate Sean Tate took third with a 44.95.
Even more impressive than that open time for Molacek was his split on Greater Omaha’s 400 free relay. Molacek put up a 42.9 on the 3:01.36 relay – both of those times are extremely impressive. Fan interest was stirred up in a big way when results showed Molacek splitting 41.5 and going out in 18.6. While that turned out to be a confirmed touchpad error, 42.9 is still an outstanding split for the high school senior; even with a relay exchange, that’s clearly better than his already impressive open 100. Though Molacek might not have been 41 at this meet, he is heading to Sprinterville, USA next season, and that 41-second split might not be as far away as you’d think.
The highlight of the night for Andrew, of course, was his National Age Group record in the 200 back. He’s got plenty of NAGs to speak of, but this has to be among his most impressive based on the event distance and the way he split the back half, going 24.8/26.6/26.6/26.9 for a 1:45.14.
The men’s mile went to Arkansas Dolphins – Lasers Swim Team’s Minki Kang. He put up a 15:27.31 to follow-up his 500 free win from a night earlier. Another repeat winner was Justin Wu, who took home the men’s 200 fly in a lifetime-best 1:47.85. Wu also won the 200 IM Saturday night.
Walker and Tatlow helped Columbia to both the girls points title and the overall title. 625 of the team’s 789 points came from the girls side, and they needed every single one – Kansas City Blazers were second overall with 786, also leading the boys standings.
Top 3 Teams
1. Columbia Swim Club 789
2. Kansas City Blazers 786
3. Rockwood Swim Club 456
1. Kansas City Blazers 456
2. Arkansas Dolphins – Lasers Swim Team 336
3. Greater Omaha Aquatics 314
1. Columbia Swim Club 625
2. Rockwood Swim Club 391
3. Kansas City Blazers 329
Results are on Meet Mobile; you can find them by searching for “SCS Central Section Region VIII Spring 2014.”