Here are the Weekly Wonders for the weekends of November 3-5, 2017 and November 10-12, 2017:
Gretchen Walsh, 14, Nashville Aquatic Club: 50y free (22.77) – Competing at the NSC Fall Face Off (a meet for Nashville Aquatic Club, Clipper Aquatic Club, and Newburgh Sea Creatures), Walsh went a PB in the 50 free by 1/10, beating last year’s time by 5/10. It was the fastest 50 free in the meet and the #3 time in the U.S. for the week for 18-and-under girls. Walsh also improved her PB in the 100 back (56.91), posting the third-fastest time of all age categories in the meet.
Reed Dittlinger, 17, Aurora Swim Team: 50y free (20.48) – Dittlinger snagged his first Summer Juniors cut in the 50 free with a best-by-3/10 swim of 20.48 to win the Alaska high school state title at the ASAA State Swim/Dive Championship. Dittlinger took a big .43-second chunk out of the Alaska state record in the 50, adding to the three relay marks he already owns along with his Dimond High School teammates. Dittlinger came in 4th in the 100 fly in a race that saw the top four separated by only .37.
Olivia McPherson, 15, Laramie Swim Club: 100y free (50.71) – Swimming unattached for Laramie High School at the Wyoming 4A Girls High School Championships, McPherson clocked a 50.71 to place second (only .19 away from the state title) in the 100 free. She was 1.4 seconds faster than she’d been a year ago and earned her first Winter Juniors cut in the event. McPherson won the 50 free (23.44) and anchored the winning 200 free relay.
Braeden Haughey, 13, TAC Titans: 200y free (1:41.58) – Haughey stepped up his game to a whole new level when he won the boys’ 13-14 200 free at the 2017 Big Southern Classic hosted by TAC Titans. He smashed his previous best by 5 seconds, and was 10.6 seconds faster than he’d been at the same meet last year. Haughey left the meet with new PBs in the 50/200/500/1000 free, 50 back, 100/200 breast, 100 fly, and 200/400 IM.
Josh Zuchowski, 13, Flood Aquatics Swim Team: 100y back (50.70) – Zuchowski, an 8th grader representing The King’s Academy at the FHSAA Class 1A State Championships, picked up his first-ever Winter Juniors cut with a 2-second drop in the 100 back. He placed third, only .02 out of second place, and .47 out of first. He is now 4.5 seconds faster than he’d been a year ago in the back. Zuchowski also placed fifth in the 200 IM with 1:53.99, a PBx1.8 seconds, and 9.6 seconds faster than last year.
Ellie Waldrep, 15, Baylor Swim Club: 100y back (55.28) – While only .03 off her personal best, Waldrep nonetheless was 3.7 seconds faster than she’d been at this same meet last year, while winning the girls’ 100 back at the Martha Bass Invitational Meet hosted by Baylor Swim Club. Waldrep also took home new PBs in the 500 free, 200 back, and 100 breast.
Kaitlyn Dobler, 15, The Dolphins Portland Swimming: 100y breast (1:00.69) – Dobler dropped a half-second and won the women’s 100 breast by 2 body lengths at the Kevin B. Perry Senior Invitational hosted by Golden West Swim Club. It was her first sub-1:01, and represented a 1.2-second drop from this time last year. Dobler had a stunning come-from-behind win in the 200 breast, and she pocketed new PBs in five events: 50/100 free, 100/200 breast, and 100 fly.
Marko Vujosevic, 15, Aquatex Swim Team: 100y breast (1:02.90) – Vujosevic had a breakout meet at the 11&Over November Unclassified hosted by Longhorn Aquatics. He shaved 3.6 seconds off a month-old PB in the 100 breast to put himself 7 seconds ahead of last year’s pace. He also dropped in the 50 free (-0.2), 100 back (-0.8), 200 back (-3.6), 100 fly (-1.0), and 200 IM (-.8). All his previous PBs, with the exception of the 200 back, had just been established this fall.
Kathleen Golding, 17, South Florida Aquatic Club: 200y IM (1:59.72) – Swimming unattached for Cooper City High School, Golding notched her first sub-2:00 200 IM and won the FHSAA Class 4A state title by 2.7 seconds. It was her best time by a half-second. She was runner-up in the 100 free by .21 with 49.79, split a 24.37 butterfly on the 200 medley relay, and anchored the 200 free relay in 23.26.
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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