Esme Hunter, 14, Swim Seventy: 100y free (52.53) – Hunter won the girls’ 13-14 100 free by over 1 second at the Bluefish Trials/Finals meet at Boston University. She went a best time by 1.4 seconds and was 3.2 seconds ahead of her pace from a year ago. Hunter also won the 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast, and 200 IM, and was runner-up in the 200 back.
Brimwin Peabody, 14, Coastal Maine Aquatics: 200y free (1:48.80) – Also swimming at the ABF Trials/Finals meet, Peabody won the boys’ 13-14 200 free with his second-best time ever. Just .5 off his PB, he was 3.1 seconds faster than he’d been at the same meet last year. Peabody also won the 50 free and was runner-up in the 100/1650 free. Moreover he was an A finalist in the 100 back, 100 fly, and 200 IM, and earned PBs in every event except the 200 free.
Philip Manoff, 15, Nation’s Capital Swim Club: 1000y free (9:26.99) – Manoff dropped nearly 12 seconds off his seed time to win the boys’ 15 and over 1000 free at the Potomac Valley LSC January Distance Meet. Manoff has improved 22.4 seconds over the last 14 months in the event. He vaulted to #5 in the country for 15-year-old boys for the 2016-17 short course season with the swim.
Tama Tuitama, 17, Team Rebel Aquatics: 200y back (1:51.03) – Swimming at the Team Rebel Aquatics Mid Winter Invite at the UNLV Natatorium, Tuitama won all four of his events and dropped a combined total of 15.3 seconds. He won the boys’ 15 and over 200 free (1:44.00, PBx2.5), 100 back (52.06, PBx1.4), 200 back (1:51.03, PBx5.7), and 200 fly (1:57.29, PBx5.7).
Kaleb Brannock, 14, Georgetown-Scott County Supersharks: 200y back (1:53.95) – Brannock won the boys’ 13-14 200 back at the Mid States All Star Championships at IUPUI Natatorium, dropping 6.2 seconds and notching the #3 time in the country for the last two weeks. He broke the 2:00 barrier for the first time and was 12.4 seconds faster than he’d been a year ago in the event. Brannock also won the 100 back (52.64, PBx1). He was third in the 100 fly and fourth in the 200 IM, and picked up new times in both events.
Lily Plaudis, 16, Kearns Youth Aquatic Team: 100y breast (1:05.07) – Plaudis won the girls’ 15 and over 100 breast and set a new meet record at the 51st Kearns Holiday Open Invitational. She went a PB by 8/10 and was 1.8 seconds faster than a year ago, while notching the #2 time in the country for 18-and-under girls for the two-week period. Plaudis also won the 1650 free, 200 breast and 400 IM during the weekend.
Ellie Boyer, 11, Utah Valley Aquatic: 200y fly (2:17.24) – Boyer destroyed the meet record in the girls’ 11-12 200 fly at the 51st Kearns Holiday Open Invitational. She dropped 10.1 seconds off her seed time and beat last year’s PB by 16.6 seconds. Boyer also won the 50 fly, and left the meet with new times in the 50/1000 free, 200 back, 200 breast, 50/100/200 fly, and 100/200 IM.
Theo Makler, 14, Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics: 200y IM (1:57.33) – Representing Pacific Swimming at the Pacific Coast All Star Meet, Makler won the boys’ 13-14 200 IM with a best-by-2.4-seconds 1:57.33. Makler also contributed top-3 finishes in the 200 free, 100/200 back, and 200 breast. His 200 free time was a PB by 2/10, and fully 6 seconds faster than at the same time last year.
Cade Oliver, 13, Franklin Regional Swim Team: 400y IM (4:10.45) – Oliver posted the third-fastest 400 IM in the country for all 18 and unders for the two-week period with his second-place finish in the boys’ 13-14 event at the Mid States All Star Championships at IUPUI. He improved his seed time by 6.1 seconds and was 21 seconds faster than he’d been a year ago. Oliver also went best times in the 100 breast (1:02.59, PBx2.2) and 200 IM (1:57.69, PBx2.1).
Reminder: The Weekly Wonders column is a celebration of age-group swimming, where new champions are made every day. Anyone can look up the top swims of the week. That’s not what we’re doing here. If we were only reporting on the week’s top swims we would feature the same handful of athletes every Wednesday. Instead, this is an opportunity to introduce the swimming community to athletes who have made great strides in the context of their own particular swimming worlds. By association, it also celebrates their coaches and their teams. The Weekly Wonders column, therefore, amounts to a pat on the back for a job well done, and hopefully encourages swimmers of all levels to continue to reach from within to get to that next level.
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