On night two at the Southern Zone Eastern Sectional Championship Meet in Athens, Georgia (also known as simply the Athens Sectional meet), Laure Manaudou had all-in-all a positive first day back in competition.
After swimming the best time in the morning prelims of 25.93, she came back in the final and posted a 25.84 to give herself the two fastest swims of her career. This makes her the 3rd-fastest French 50 freestyler in 2011 behind Beryl Gastaldello and Camille Muffat (the latter of whom is unlikely to ever swim this race at a major meet). That means that she can now place at least one firm time target, which is to surpass the 2012 London Olympic standard of 25.27.
Later in the meet, she will test her skill in the 100 and 200 freestyles, as well as the same events in backstroke, in what will become the “new normal” meet schedule for the former distance swimmer.
In the final, Manaudou placed 2nd behind Georgia’s Megan Romano, who will be a part of the USA’s World University Games roster for this summer’s meet, where she will swim the 100. Romano’s final time was a 25.81, which is also a career-best time for her four weeks out of her big taper meet.
Though Manaudou was undoubtedly the biggest draw to this meet, she wasn’t the only big swim of the night.
In the men’s 50 free, the win went to another Auburn postgrad, Kohlton Norys, who last year completed his college eligibility with a 10th-place finish in the 50 free at NCAA’s. His winning mark was a 22.7 career-best swim.
The other impressive performance of the night came from 15-year old Jimmy Yoder, who took a win in the 800 free (8:17.46). He swims for Stingary Swimming, located in Marietta, Georgia, which is quickly becoming one of the premier 18 & under swim teams in the country. He was also the runner-up in the 200 fly in 2:01.89.
Despite being at the bottom-end of the age group, Yoder now ranks 2nd in the country amongst 15-16’s in both races. In the 200 fly, that time ranks him amongst the top-5 15 year old’s in the last 15 years in this race. He’s on track to be one of the top recruits in the class of 2013.