Leah Hayes Swims a Best Time in the 100 Fly to Close FMC/Speedo Grand Challenge

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 0

November 20th, 2023 News


  • November 17-19, 2023
  • FMC Aquatic Center, Westmont, Illinois
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2023 IL FMC HSC Speedo Grand Challenge” (or search “Westmont”)
  • Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap

Two more wins for National Team member Leah Hayes, including a best time in the 100 fly, highlighted the final day of racing at the 2023 FMC Aquatic Speedo Grand Challenge, while on the boys’ side Szymon Mieczkowski posted another big time drop.

Hayes picked up two more individual wins to finish her meet with six total (in six starts). First she led the way in the 200 yard free in 1:44.75, which like most of her swims this weekend was just off her best time of 1:44.1.

But then she finished the meet with her first personal best in a typical senior-schedule event when she won the 100 yard fly in 52.55.

That knocked .14 seconds off her previous best time from a month ago, and in total has knocked about three seconds off her lifetime best this season in a race that she has only swum sparingly the last few years.

While the 100 fly is not a primary event for the 18-year-old from the Fox Valley Park District Riptides, her future home at the University of Virginia has been known to value this kind of versatility and, especially, to develop secondary events into primary events.

Also ending his meet on a high note was 17-year old Szymon Mieczkowski from the host FMC Aquatic Club. He won the 100 back on Sunday in 47.44, adding to an earlier win in the 200 back on Saturday. His time in the 100 was a new best by 7-tenths of a second. In total, this season he’s dropped about 1.4 seconds off his best in this event.

These drops have all come the week after announcing his commitment to the University of Kentucky, where new head coach Bret Lundgaard is trying to shore up his 2024 recruiting class amid a few defections. A good add at the time of the announcement, he has now become a game-changer for the Wildcats. Their fastest 100 backstroker mid-season was freshman Jack Hamilton at 48.39, and Mieczkowski is already nine-tenths faster than that (though Max Berg, a sophomore, has been 46.2).

His FMC teammate Brady Johnson was 2nd in that race in 48.38. A versatile swimmer committed to Arizona State for the fall, Johnson had a top three finish in at least one event of each stroke this weekend, plus the top seed in the 200 IM (1:48.36) before scratching the final.

Other Day 3 Highlights:

  • Club Wolverine picked up its first win on the boys’ side of the meet in the 400 IM where 15-year-old Sam Campbell touched in 4:02.21. In total, he dropped about 10 seconds off his best time coming into the meet, and about 14.7 seconds off his best time coming into the season. The Michigan-based club is under new leadership of Jim Whitehead this season, and in early returns have had strong output in distance races – Aoife Harkin swam 10:08 to win the girls’ 1000 free earlier in the meet, dropping about 9 seconds off her best time.
  • FMC got another win when Jeffrey Hou touched in 47.88 in finals of the boys’ 100 fly. That’s just .05 seconds short of his personal best and marked his second individual win of the meet after the 200 IM (1:487.19). Another versatile performer for the host team, he also had top three finishes in the 200 fly (1:47.05) and 100 free (45.62), and was the 2nd seed in prelims of the 100 breast (55.01) before scratching finals.
  • Wildcat Aquatics 16-year-old Tierney Lenahan won the 100 back in 53.85, clearing the field by over two seconds. That’s about two-tenths shy of her personal best. She swam a new best time in the 200 back on Saturday, winning in 1:56.75.

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About Braden Keith

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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