Presenting the MP Weekly Wonders for the weekend of March 17-19, 2017.
Matt Brownstead, 14, Nittany Lion Aquatic Club: 50 free (20.59) – Swimming unattached for State College Area High School, Brownstead was the only 9th-grader to qualify for finals in the 50 free and one of only two in the 100 free. He placed third in the 50, improving his PB by .45 and picking up his first Summer Juniors cut. In the 100, Brownstead dropped 1.1, got a Winter Juniors cut, and placed fourth in the state. Before his freshman season his best times in the 50/100 sprint free events had been 23.44/51.16.
Ella Ristic, 14, Mission Viejo Nadadores: 200y free (1:46.52) – Ristic won the girls’ 13-14 100 free, 200 free, 100 back, and 400 IM at the Southern California Swimming 14&U Short Course Junior Olympics. Her 200 free time was a PB by .26 and 2.5 seconds than at the same time last year. It was the #5 swim in the country for 18-and-under girls for the weekend, and the #10 200 free all-time for 13-14 girls. Ristic also went 49.70 in the 100 free, dropping .5 and breaking the 50-second barrier for the first time.
Darwin Anderson, 15, Rock Springs Swim Club: 1000y free (9:39.40) – Anderson dropped 23 seconds off his best time in the 1000 free and vaulted to 11th overall at the Pacific Northwest Spring Senior Sectionals hosted by Valley Aquatics at Federal Way. He also dropped 42 seconds in the 1650, two weeks after having achieved a new PB in that event, as well as in the 50/100 free, 100 fly, and 200/400 IM, at the Wyoming Short Course Championships.
Lexi Ljunggren, 17, Red River Valley: 1650y free (17:06.98) – Swimming at the North Dakota Short Course Swim Championship hosted by Aquastorm & Mandan Marlins, Ljunggren went her second-best ever 1650 (only .47 off her PB) and won the girls’ 17-18 1650. This comes one weekend after she earned her first Winter Juniors cut in the 1000 free. She also won the 100/200/500 free, 100 back, and 400 IM, and set State Meet records in the 200/500 free.
Xavier Moore, 11, Bluegrass Marlins Swim Team: 100y back (59.03) – Moore unleashed his first sub-minute 100 back to win the boys’ 11-12 event at the Kentucky Short Course State Championships sponsored by Swimville USA. It was a PB by 4.3 seconds, and 7.1 better than at the same meet last year. Moore left the meet with new times in the 50/100/500 free, 50/100 back, 50 breast, and 200 IM.
Chloe Brede, 13, YMCA of Southwest Illinois: 100y breast (1:07.43) – Swimming at the Heartland Area Championship Swim Meet hosted by Edwardsville YMCA Breakers, Brede won the girls’ 11-12 50/100/200 free, 50/100 back, 100 breast, and 200 IM. Brede’s breaststroke was a PB by 1.7 seconds and 6.5 better than at this time last year. She left the meet with new times in all but the 100 back; she had notched PBs in the 100/200 back and 500 free in February at the OZ Division I Championships.
Claire Grover, 16, Scottsdale Aquatic Club: 200m breast (2:12.09) – Grover dropped 4 seconds to win the women’s 200 breast at Federal Way Sectionals, earning her first Summer Nationals cut in the event and posting the #2 time in the country for all 18-and-under girls for the weekend. Grover was runner-up in the 100 breast, touching just .05 off her two-week-old PB. She also dropped .4 and picked up her first Winter Juniors cut in the 100 free.
Claire Curzan, 12, Raleigh Swimming Association: 200y fly (2:01.35) – Swimming at the Eastern Section Southern Zone Age Group Championships hosted by Swim GSA in Greensboro, Curzan won the girls’ 11-12 100 free, 50/100 back, 50/100/200 fly, and 100/200 IM. She went best times in both backstrokes and all three butterfly events, dropping 5.4 seconds in the 200 fly and earning her first Winter Juniors invite.
Darien O’Donnell, 14, Charger Aquatics: 200y fly (1:54.40) – O’Donnell dropped .20 to qualify 32nd, just making it into the D final at Western Regional Four Corners Sectionals hosted by Colorado Swimming in Lewisville, Texas. He then came back at night and dropped 2.99 seconds to win the heat out of lane 8, posting a time that was 6.4 seconds faster than he’d been a year ago. O’Donnell finished the weekend with brand new PBs in the 50/200/1650 free, 50/100 back, 100/200 fly, and 400 IM.
Sean Faikish, 15, North Penn Aquatic Club: 200y IM (1:49.84) – Swimming unattached for North Penn High School, Faikish dropped just over 1 second to place second in the 200 IM at PIAA Boys AAA Swimming Championships. It was his first sub-1:50, and marked an 8.2-second improvement since a year ago. It was his second time under the Winter Juniors standard; the first time was the previous week at Districts. Faikish, a 9th-grader, finished 9th in the 500 free, anchored North Penn’s 400 free relay, and swam breast on their medley relay.
Talon Lindquist, 17, Kodiak Kingfishers: 400y IM (3:55.23) – Lindquist dropped a total of 6.6 seconds, between his prelims and finals swims, earning a Winter Juniors cut and placing 10th in the 400 IM at Federal Way Sectionals. Lindquist was 5th in the 100 back and 4th in the 200 back, taking home a PB in the latter by 1/100.
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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