Presenting the Weekly Wonders for the weekend of August 3-5, 2018:
Mollie Wright, 18, City Of Midland Swim Team (COM-WT): 400m free (4:22.20) – Swimming at 2018 Speedo Summer Juniors, Wright dropped .65 off a two-week-old PB in the 400 free to tie for 24th place and force a swim-off. The second time around she was 8/10 off her new best time for her third-fastest swim ever in the event. Wright is now 5.7 seconds faster than she was a year ago. She also dipped under 1:06 for the first time in the 100 back, touching the wall with a new PB of 1:05.85.
Blake Peeples, 16, Performance Elite Aquatics (PEAQ-MS): 1500m free (16:13.04) – Peeples scored his first Winter Juniors cut in the 1500 with a 14.4-second drop to come in 2nd at the Southern Zone Senior Championships hosted by Huntsville Swim Association. He was also runner-up in the 400 free and 800 free and placed 4th in the 400 IM, 8th in the 200 free, and 20th in the 200 fly. He wrapped up the meet with new PBs in all 6 events. The previous week he had dropped in the 50/200 free and 200 IM at Mississippi LC State Championships.
Audrey McDonald, 16, Park City Swimming (PCS-UT): 1500m free (17:18.79) – McDonald was another first-time Winter Juniors qualifier in the 1500 free over the weekend. She dropped 14.9 seconds to take 6th at Santa Clara Futures. She was 7th in the 400, 8th in the 800, and 15th in the 200 free; she also competed in the 100 free and 100 fly. McDonald left Santa Clara with PBs in the 200/400/800/1500 free. At the previous week’s Utah State Championships, she had gone best times in the 100 back and 100 fly.
Sandy Li, 14, Seattle Metropolitan Aquatic Club (SMAC-PN): 200m back (2:21.66) – Li took another 3 seconds off a 3-week-old PB to win the girls’ 13-14 200 back at the Pacific Northwest 14&U LC Championships; that puts her 7.4 seconds ahead of where she was last year at this time. She won the 100 back and 100 fly and finished 4th in the 100/400 free and 6th in the 50 free. Li ended the weekend with PBs in the 50/100 free, 200 back, and 100 fly. A week earlier she posted PBs in the 50/100 back at the Pacific Northwest Senior Championships.
Julie Schwam, 13, David Douglas Aquatic Club (DDAC-OR): 200m back (2:24.40) – Swimming at Western Zone Senior Championships a week after posting her fourth PB of the season in the 200 back, Schwam took another second off her time to make a total improvement of 17.2 since the beginning of the summer. She finished the meet with new PBs in the 100/1500 free, 200 back, and 200/400 IM. Schwam won the C final in the 200 back and placed 21st in the 1500 free. At the Oregon Swimming 11&O Championships the previous week she knocked out PBs in the 200/400/800 free, 100 back, and 100 fly.
Kendal Southwell, 16, MAKO Aquatic Club (MAKO-NM): 200m breast (2:25.82) – Southwell picked up his first Winter Juniors cut in the 200 breast with a PBx4.4 seconds at Western Zone Senior Championships, putting him 6.2 seconds ahead of last year’s pace. He finished 8th in the 200 breast and 21st in the 100 breast, and wrapped up the weekend with PBs in the 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, and 400 IM. A week earlier he’d gone best times in the 50 back and 50/100 fly at New Mexico Long Course State Championships.
Kate Steward, 18, Splash Club (P66-OK): 200m breast (2:35.58) – Kansas commit Steward dropped 1.1 seconds for a new PB and a runner-up finish in the 200 breast at 2018 USA Swimming Futures Championship hosted by Rochester (MN) Swim Club. It’s the second time in a month she’s been under her old PB (which dated from 2015) and the second time she’s hit a U.S. Open time standard. Earlier this summer at Jenks Sectionals, Steward went best times in the 50/100 breast and 200 IM.
AJ Huskey, 16, Columbia Swim Club (CSC-MV): 400m IM (4:35.69) – Swimming at NCSA Summer Swimming Championship, Huskey snagged his first Winter Juniors cut in the 400 IM, taking 6.4 seconds off a 6-week-old PB to finish 27th in the event. He has now dropped 12.5 seconds in a year. Huskey finished 25th in the 200 fly, also with a Winter Juniors cut, and dropped time in the 100 fly as well. 2 weeks earlier at Jenks Sectionals he went best times in the 200 free, 200 back, 200 breast, and 50 fly.
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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