Presenting our Weekly Wonders from the weekend of January 11-13, 2019:
Joe Hayburn, 14, Annapolis Swim Club (ASC-MD): 50 free, 21.63 – At the end of 2017, Hayburn’s best time in the 50 free was 22.72. He hovered in the mid-to-low 22s, hitting 21.99 just once. In December, he shaved a little more – down to 21.91. Then, at the 2019 CBAC Winter Wake-Up Meet, he did just that, slashing off nearly three tenths of a second to go 21.63. At the same meet, he went a best time in the 100 breast (1:06.09), 200 fly (1:58.67), and 400 IM (4:10.46).
Abby Karl, 15, Empire KC Swim Club (EKC-MV): 100 free, 51.58 – Exactly a year before this swim, Karl was 54.87 in the 100 free. In November 2018, she brought it down to 53.94, then 52.96 a month later. In her first meet of 2019, she took it all the way down to 51.89, and then the same day, 51.58. The same weekend, she went major best times in the 200 (dropping over two seconds to 1:54.70) and 500 free (dropping over 12 seconds to 5:32.37). She also dropped in the 50 fly (25.65), 50 breast (32.62), and 100 and 200 IM (1:00.44 and 2:09.61).
Jack Meehan, 16, Aquatic Team of Mecklenburg (ATOM-MC): 500 free, 4:33.34 – Meehan swam the 500 free five times in 2018, hitting a 4:36.69 in March and most recently, 4:44.77 in October. Last weekend, he brought it back down to 4:33.34, hitting a 2019 Futures standard. At the 2019 ATOM Frosty Invite, he also dropped almot 23 seconds in his 1000 free, hitting another Futures cut at 9:28.53. Meehan also hit a best time in the 200 fly (1:55.80), dropping a whopping seven seconds.
Sonia Vaishnani, 13, Alamo Area Aquatic Association (AAAA-ST): 200 IM, 2:07.59 – Vaishnani swim the 200 IM five times in 2018 and most recently went 2:10.48 in November. Last weekend, she went two best times – first 2:08.30 and then 2:07.59 – hitting a 2019 Futures cut along the way. She had a stellar meet, also hitting best times in the 50 free, 200 free, 50 back, 200 breast, 50 fly, 200 fly, 100 IM, 200 IM, and 400IM.
Sarah Kutz, 17, Austin Swim Club (ASC-ST): 100 fly, 56.90 – Two years after her last best time in the 100 fly, and without racing it in the first half of 2018, Kutz went 58.06 in December (seven tenths faster than her prior best). Then, last weekend, she took off over a second more, going 56.90.
Chase Swearingen, 13, Ohio State Swim Club, OSSC-OH: 200 breast, 2:18.28 – Early in 2018, Swearingen was 2:24.94 in the 200 breast, and then took 1.5 seconds off in October. A few months later, he slashed off another five seconds, going 2:18.28. Swearingen also went best times in his 50 breast (28.93), 100 breast (1:03.33), and 50 fly (24.98).
Jeremy Kelly, 12, Nitro Swimming (NTRO-ST): 100 back, 53.43 – At the end of 2017, as an 11-year-old, Kelly was 58.98 in the 100 back. In March of 2018, he brought it down to 55.97, and by November he was 54.22. To kick off 2019, he took off another .8 seconds, going 53.43. But the best times didn’t stop there: Kelly also went lifetime bests in the 50 free (22.59), 100 free (49.15), and 200 free (1:48.91), as well as the 50 back (24.95), 100 IM (54.58), and 200 IM (2:05.19).
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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