Georgia Commit Katherine Sikes Swims 22.5 at Southeastern Classic Meet

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 3

November 26th, 2022 Club, News

2022 East Carolina Aquatics Southeastern Classic

  • November 11-13, 2022
  • Minges Natatorium, Greenville, North Carolina
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile

Cal commit Lucca Battaglini just-missed a new lifetime best in the 50 free and Georgia commit Katherine Sikes crushed her own personal best in the same event two weeks ago at the East Carolina Aquatics-hosted Southeastern Classic.

Battaglini, 17, trains with his dad Claudio Battaglini out of ECA’s Chapel Hill site. He won the boys’ 50 free at the meet in 20.03. That swim was .07 seconds behind his lifetime best in the event, which was set at last year’s Winter Junior East Championships.

His swim is the fastest flat-start in the country so far this season in the 50 free. The only 18 & under who has been better this year is NC State freshman Quintin McCarty.

He also won the 100 free (44.58), 200 free (1:40.30), and 100 fly (48.62).

While none of those swims were best times for him, they were all substantially faster than he swam in his previous meet in October, where he was 47.3/1:45.8 in the freestyles and 51.3 in the 100 fly.

Battaglini is scheduled to join the vaunted sprint crew at Cal next fall. The Golden Bears have ended the year with the fastest 50 freestyler in the NCAA every season since Caeleb Dressel graduated in 2018.

The meet had several impressive 50 freestyle results besides Battaglini. In the boys’ race, 14-year old Owen Lin swam 21.53, and 13-year old Grant Larsen swam 22.07. Lin, who also represents ECA, now ranks 9th among 13-14s nationally this season, while Larsen of the O’Neal Pelagics ranks 3rd nationally among 13-year-olds.

In the girls’ race, Georgia commit Katie Sikes took a huge leap forward with two new personal bests. The high school junior swam 22.52 in the 50 free and 56.00 in the 100 fly.

Those are both new lifetime bests: she had previously been 22.95 and 56.36 in March.

The drop, especially in the 50 free, is big for Sikes, given that the rest of her times indicated that she wasn’t on a full taper for this one: she was 50.32 in the 100 free, about four-tenths shy of her best.

While Sikes is still a season-and-a-half away from her first meet for the Bulldogs, her addition will be a welcome sight in Athens. The team only has one 50 freestyler who has been better than 22.8 this year, sophomore Eboni McCarty at 21.89, and with limited help coming in for 2023. Sikes’ new best times came just a couple of weeks after making her commitment to Georgia.

Sikes won a total of six individual events, including two relays

16-year-old Emily Armen finished 2nd in 23.04, which missed her best time by .08 seconds. Another ECA junior, Armen is committed to Tennessee. While Armen is primarily a sprint freestyler, she flexed some range on the weekend: she swam 4:55.12 to win the 500 free, dropping more than 15 seconds off her personal best, and also added a best time of 57.09 in the 100 back.

Other Meet Highlights:

  • The 13-year-old Larsen swam 48.74 in the 100 free, which is a new best time by a second-and-a-half. That ranks him 4th among swimmers his age nationally this season.
  • 14-year old Calvin Schaper from the Carolina Aquatic Team swam 59.89 in the 100-yard breaststroke. That took almost four seconds off his previous best time in the event


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Go bears
2 months ago

So tell me if I’m wrong here, but Claudio, (Lucca’s dad?) trains Kathrine and lucca but not the others…? Whatever claudio is doing is working, I don’t see why you wouldn’t just combine into one whole group if his girl is the one taking the 50 free W.

Reply to  Go bears
2 months ago

Because chapel hill and Greenville are almost two hours apart driving distance. So they represent ECA in name only. Probably some inter-club politics that led to this affiliation with ECA rather than one of the triangle teams or their own club

Go bears
Reply to  Thezwimmer
2 months ago

Ohhhh, didn’t realize the distance gap. Makes sense now.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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