Kayla Wilson Breaks 33-Year-Old Olympian-Held Record at NOVA Holiday Champs

NOVA Senior Holiday Championships

  • November 18-21, 20201
  • NOVA Aquatics Center, Richmond, Virginia
  • Short Course Yards (25 yard) pool
  • Results (PDF)

NOVA of Virginia hosted a meet featuring three of the best teams in the Virginia Swimming LSC last weekend in a prelims/finals meet. Along with the hosts, Quest Swimming and the Tide Swim Team converged upon the NOVA Aquatics Center for 4 days of racing to wrap up the year of competition.

16-year old Tide swimmer Kayla Wilson won the girls’ 200 free running-away in 1:44.90. Not only is that a lifetime best by 1.3 seconds, but it also breaks a 33-year old LSC Record in the event.

The prior record of 1:46.05 was set by Whitney Hedgepeth on March 12, 1987. Hedgepeth went on to win an NCAA title in the 200 free, as well as a trio of Olympic medals at the 1996 Games: gold as part of the American 400 medley relay, and silvers in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes individually.

The time for Wilson jumps her into 15th place all-time in USA Swimming 15-16 history.

Wilson also picked up a win in the 100 free in 49.49, taking the win in a much tighter competition: Nikki Venema, who is on the varsity team at Princeton but is home training with Tide, finished 2nd in 49.44, while another Tide 16-year old Emily Claesson was 3rd in 49.98. Tide took the top 5 finishers in that race.

Wilson, a high school junior, has not yet announced a college commitment yet.

Venema, the defending Ivy League Champion in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyles, won the 100 fly in 52.86. That cut almost a second off her best time of 53.80 done midseason last year for Princeton.

The girls put up most of the highlights swims at the meet. Senior Samantha Tadder, a Stanford commit, swam 3 new lifetime bests among her 7 events at the meet.

In the 200 breast, she swam 2:10.85, which improved her old lifetime best of 2:11.76; In the 200 fly, she swam 1:57.85, which improves her prior best time of 1:58.71; and in the mile, she shaved .02 seconds off her best to go 16:13.03. The 200 breast and 1650 freestyle were both wins; she also topped the field with a win in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.64) and 500 free (4:44.34) as well.

Twins Grace Sheble and Caroline Sheble were the two that finished ahead of her in the 200 fly. Grace Sheble won in 1:56.38, while Caroline placed 2nd in 1:56.52, which is a best time for her. Both Sheble sisters are committed to NC State next fall.

Other Meet Highlights:

  • 14-year old NOVA swimmer Eric Lambert placed 4th in the 100 back in 52.04 and 3rd in the 200 back in 1:50.67. His prelims time in the 200 back, which was slightly faster in 1:50.62, was a new best, moved him into the top 100 all-time in 13-14 age group history, and broke the NOVA team record.
  • 16-year old NOVA swimmer Claire Dafoe won the 1000 free in 9:45.45, which also breaks a NOVA team record and lands her about 2 seconds short of another Hedgepeth team record.

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Jeff Kincaid
1 year ago

Congratulations Kayla and to all the athletes getting it done mid COvid19 2020.

1 year ago

Kayla’s mom and Whitney were roommates at Texas.

ga swimmer
1 year ago

let’s go kayla!!

1 year ago

As a Tide parent, we are very grateful to the host team Nova for putting on such a well run meet that allowed our athletes to compete with some of the best and nicest swimmers around.

Reply to  MarkT
1 year ago

Who downvotes a post like this?

Reply to  Upvote
1 year ago

Swimmers who hated the meet lol

Reply to  Idk
1 year ago

I’d go with no best times..

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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