Presenting our Weekly Wonders from the weekend of December 7th-9th, 2018:
Hannah Bailey, 16, Dublin Community Swim Team (DCST-OH): 100 free, 50.84 – Bailey dropped a second in her 100 free (51.80 to 50.84) at the 2018 MAKO Holiday Spirit Invite to score one of her first Winter Juniors cuts – she had qualified in February in just the 100 fly. She also hit the cut in the 200 IM, where she dropped three seconds (2:06.15 to 2:03.09), and went additional best times in 200 free (1:51.17), 200 fly (2:16.89), 200 breast (2:14.18), and 500 free (4:59.44) where she dropped over 10 seconds to break 5:00 for the first time.
Gigi Johnson, 14, SwimAtlanta (SA-GA): 200IM, 2:03.79 – At 2018 Winter Juniors – East, Johnson took nearly four seconds off of her 200IM lifetime best, dropping from 2:07.45 to 2:03.79. As of the beginning of the year, she had never been under 2:11. At the same meet, Johnson also dropped nearly two seconds off her best in the 100 fly (57.26 to 55.31), half a second off her 100 breast (1:04.22 to 1:03.64), and one-and-a-half seconds off her 200 breast (2:15.42 to 2:13.80).
Luke Hobson, 15, Lakeridge Swim Team (LAKE-PC): 500 free, 4:27.20 – At 2018 Winter Juniors – West, Hobson dropped over five seconds off his previous best of 4:32.79 in the 500 free. In prelims, Hobson was just off that best at 4:32.88, but pulled off the massive drop between sessions. Furthermore, as of the start of the year, Hobson had never been under 4:40. Hobson also hit a best time in his 200 free, dropping a tenth to go 1:38.63, and his 1650, where he dropped about two seconds to go 15:33.09; Hobson dropped 37 seconds in his 1650 in 2018.
Elena Dry, 13, TAC Titans (TAC-NC): 100 back, 56.53 – At the 2018 TAC Titans Blizzard Blitz, Dry took two seconds off her previous best time of 58.64, which was swum in May. She shaved most of the time off in prelims, going 56.73, but then was able to squeak out the extra .2 for finals. As of the end of 2017, the 13-year-old hadn’t broken 1:00. Earlier in the meet, Dry also went a best time in her 500 free (5:04.13).
Kevin Houseman, 17, Bainbridge Island Swim Club (BISC-PN): 200 breast, 2:00.27 – Houseman dropped over two seconds between prelims and finals at 2018 Winter Juniors – West, improving his best time before the meet by over three seconds. In prelims, Houseman went 2:02.49, and in finals 2:00.27, which qualifies him for 2019 Summer Juniors. At the end of 2016, his lifetime best sat at 2:05.79, and after not dropping time for all of 2017, he went 2:03-mid multiple times in early 2018 before his breakthrough at Juniors.
Tess Howley, 13, Long Island Aquatic Club (LIAC-PV) – 200 fly, 1:58.79: Howley entered 2018 having only swum the 200 fly once – in her first try in early 2017 she went 2:19.93. She shaved 10 seconds off that time in January of this year, then was 2:05.99 at the end of October. By the conclusion of the 2018 NCAP Invite, she was sub-2:00, going 2:00.34 in prelims and 1:58.79 in finals. At the same meet, Howley also went lifetime bests in her 50 free (23.34), 100 free (50.05), 200 free (1:47.87), 500 free (4:55.44), and 100 and 200 fly (54.43/1:58.79).
Tom House, 15, Dayton Raiders (DR-OH): 400 IM, 3:57.72 – Exactly a year before this swim, House went 4:11.89. Last weekend at 2018 Winter Juniors – East, House finished out a year of massive drops in the event, going 3:57.72 down from his entry time of 4:03.61, done just a month prior. At Juniors, House also went a best time in his 200 breast (2:04.33) and 200 IM (1:52.84). His 200 breast time was an exactly three-second drop from his previous best (also from November) of 2:07.33, and his 200 IM was also a PR by one-and-a-half seconds.
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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