Linnea Mack Trumps Team Elite Stars at Presidents’ Day Classic


David Marsh’s UCSD-based Team Elite pro squad were the primary stars of the show at the 2019 San Diego-Imperial President’s Day Classic, but they weren’t the only stars at a meet that is growing rich with swimming talent.

World Record holder Kathleen Baker and her training partner Kendyl Stewart wound up scratching down to just 1 event each, the 200 IM, but there they went 1-2, both breaking the Meet Record, in 1:55.92 and 1:59.57, respectively. Baker split 33.7 on her breaststroke leg, as compared to just 36.7 for Stewart, reminding everyone that she was a national-caliber breaststroker in high school.

Not showing up on the original psych sheets, but racing anyway, was San Diego’s newest resident elite: 19-year old National Teamer Michael Andrew. Belying his usual monster schedules, Andrew swam just 2 races in a truncated lineup: the 50 free, which he won in 19.68; and the 100 free, where he took 3rd in 44.79 (he was 44.52 in prelims). In that 100 free, he finished behind a pair of Team Elite swimmers: Merion Cheruti (44.30) and Michael Chadwick (42.57).

Video of the 100 free final:

Chadwick also swam, and won, the 200 IM in 1:45.40. Finishing 2nd in the race was CCAT Swimming’s Zac Van Zandt in 1:49.67. That’s his best time by almost 2 seconds, and ranks him 16 nationally among 15-16s so far this season.

Other Noteworthy Results (Pro and Otherwise):

  • In the women’s 50 free, it was former UCLA swimmer Linnea Mack (not affiliated with Team Elite, instead swimming with Osprey Aquatics) who won in 22.65. 17-year old Samantha Pearson swam 23.26 for 2nd place, while Team Elite’s Ali Deloof took 3rd in 23.32. Pearson was the top-finishing non-pro in several events, including the 200 free where she swam a 1:48.86.
  • Russia’s Daria Ustinova, swimming one of two planned meets during a training block with Team Elite before the Russian National Championships, won the 200 free in 1:48.43. She was 2nd in the 100 back (53.14) behind, again, Linnea Mack, who won in 52.88. This was Mack’s fastest meet, by far, since finishing her eligibility at UCLA.
  • Lia Neal was the top qualifier in prelims of the 200 free in 1:49.45 before scratching the final; and the top seed in the 100 fly in 56.04 before scratching the final. Neal swam only preliminary races at the meet.
  • Another Russian, Artyom Machekin, won the men’s 200 free in 1:37.15. Van Zandt was again 2nd in 1:38.78.
  • Jacob Pebley swam prelims of both the 100 back (47.40) and 200 back (1:42.57). He was seeded in long course in both events, so had a lot of clean water in both races. He wound up scratching both finals.
  • Matthew Driscoll was 2nd in the 100 back in 50.01, and won the 200 back in 1:49.35. In the 100 back, that was an improvement of 2.1 seconds over his previous lifetime best (done at this meet last year), and in the 200 back he dropped almost 3. He was the men’s high scorer at the meet, earning 130 points total as part of De Anza Cupertino Aquatics’ runaway team title.
  • 17-year old South Bay Aquatics swimmer Juli Arzave was the women’s high point winner at the meet, thanks in part to sweeping the 1000 free (9:58.45) and 1650 free (16:44.87).

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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