Tennessee Aquatics Dominates 2023 TNAQ June Spectacular Invite

Tennessee Aquatics dominated the 2023 TNAQ June Spectacular Invite that took place at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville from June 16-18. The meet included all freestyle events, 50s, 100s, and 200s of stroke, as well as the 200 and 400 IMs, and Tennessee Aquatics topped both women’s and men’s overall scores.


Top 5 Teams 

  1. Tennessee Aquatics (545)
  2. Prime Aquatics (272) 
  3. Baylor Swim Club (216.5)
  4. Highlands Ranch Aquatics (172)
  5. Fox Valley Swim Team (163)

15 & Over

Rising University of Tennessee junior Josephine Fuller, currently representing Tennessee Aquatics during summer meets, posted a top prelims time of 2:10.82 in the 200 backstroke. The time was about two seconds faster than what she went at the Speedo Atlanta Classic in May (2:12.92), and less than a second off her best (2:09.92) which she swam at the Toyota U.S. Open in December. Highlands Ranch Aquatics’ Gabi Dyer, who will be a freshman this fall at the University of Kansas, won the event with a 2:18.60, making her first Winter Junior Nationals cut this year.

The top scorer was soon-to-be LSU Tiger, Lillie Tichenor from CHRISTUS Louisiana Aquatic Club. She won the 800 freestyle (9:22.03), 200 butterfly (2:22.74) and 400 IM (5:04.08); earned a couple of second places in the 100 butterfly (1:04.58) and 200 IM (2:21.57); and a couple of thirds in the 400 freestyle (4:31.65) and 200 breaststroke (2:43.93). 


13-year-old Ellie Stanley from Prime Aquatics owned both butterfly events. In the 100, she broke the 1:04 barrier for the first time finishing first by almost five seconds with a 1:03.53. Just her second time swimming the event in LCM, Stanley posted a 2:26.91 in the 200, topping the field with an almost 14-second difference between her and Catherine Payne from CHRISTUS who placed second (2:41.33) and Abbey Brown from Fox Valley Swim Team (2:41.34). Furthermore, Stanley won the 400 IM by more than 15 seconds with a 5:17.87. She also added a third-place finish in the 50 free posting a 27.86, breaking 28 for the first time. 


Maggie Simpson from Tennessee Aquatics was the top scorer as she swept the freestyle events. Simpson led the 100 freestyle field winning by over two seconds with a 1:05.77. Likewise, she won the 200 free and dropped over seven seconds with a 2:28.28. She also finished second in the 50 and third in the 400. In the 50 butterfly Simpson posted a 31.93 win, which was over a four-second drop from her previous best time of 36.73 back at the beginning of this month. Additionally, Simpson finished first in the 50 and second in the 100 backstroke. She went PBs in all but one of her eight total events. 

10 & Under

Alisa Yakunina, also from Tennessee Aquatics, achieved personal best times in eight out of nine events. She won the 100 freestyle (1:10.30), and the 200 freestyle in 2:31.76, which was an 11-second drop from her previous best time of 2:43.24 from July 2022. Yakunina also placed first in the 50 breaststroke with a 45.91, leading the field by almost four seconds. Moreover, she posted a 35.57 in the 50 breaststroke, which was more than a three-second drop from her past PB of 39.77 from last year’s meet.


Top 5 Teams

  1. Tennessee Aquatics (416) 
  2. Baylor Swim Club (289)
  3. Fox Valley Swim Team (283)
  4. Atomic City Aquatic Club (171)
  5. Highlands Ranch Aquatics (169)

15 & Over

University of Tennessee’s international combo of Michael Houlie (South Africa), Lyubo Epitropov (Bulgaria), Joaquin Vargas (Peru) and Martin Espernberger (Austria) made small appearances at the meet in preparation for World Championships next month. The four of them only raced during the prelims sessions. Houlie swam the 50 breaststroke in a 27.96 finishing first. Epitropov’s lone swim was the 100 breaststroke and he placed first posting a 1:02.29. Vargas posted a 1:51.59 in the 200 freestyle and finished first, followed by Martin fourth with a 1:56.82 which was also a new best time. The Austrian swam an additional 50 butterfly with a 24.78 and finished first. 

Furthermore, five swimmers made cuts for Winter Junior Nationals: Travis Oleson from Highlands Ranch Aquatics in the 100 and 200 breaststroke (1:04.58, 2:23.65); Drew Hitchcock from Baylor Swim Club in the 100 butterfly (55.29); Andrew Chou from Atomic City Aquatic Club in the 100 backstroke (58.84); and Chase Maier from Fox Valley Swim Team in the 200 and 400 freestyle (1:51.01, 4:05.01).

2023 Purdue commit Mason Kajfosz from Highlands Ranch Aquatics swept the sprint freestyle events, going 24.62 in the 50 and 52.40 in the 100. He also won the 50 butterfly (25.82); finished second in the 100 butterfly (56.52) and 200 IM (2:11.21); posted a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:56.12) and swam the prelims of the 400 IM finishing fourth (4:43.63). 


Baylor Swim Club’s Hayden Vicknair achieved personal best times in every single one of his eight races, and dominated both sprint freestyle and butterfly events. He won the 50 freestyle with a 25.22, the 100 with a 54.45, and the 200 with a 1:59.88. He dropped more than two seconds from his old 100 time of 56.67, and was the only swimmer below two minutes in the 200 freestyle with an almost nine-second drop. 

In the 50 butterfly he was the only athlete breaking the 27 barrier with 26.87, and in the 100 was the only one under a minute with a 58.66 and a four-second drop. His biggest time drop came in the 200 butterfly as he posted a 2:11.48. The time was almost 12 seconds faster than his previous best time of 2:23.30 back in May, giving him a lead of around 12 seconds as well. Additionally, the 100 backstroke was a PB for Vicknair (1:03.85) but he placed second after Arun Kaura (1:03.64) from Fox Valley Swim Team, who also won the 50, by two hundredths of a second. 

Braden Meurer from Fox Valley Swim Team took over the breaststroke events. He posted a best time of 1:08.28 in the 100 and a 2:28.14 in the 200. Meurer dropped more than four seconds from his previous best time in the 200 and was the only one under 2:30. 


Tyson Boyd from Avon Swim Club was the mid-distance multi-champion. He swept both IM events, achieving a PB in the 400 with a 5:22.09, and won the 200 and 400 freestyle slightly off his best times. Boyd also placed first in the 200 breaststroke and was the only one under three minutes. In the 200 butterfly, Boyd posted a personal best winning time of 2:46.28, which was almost a six-second drop.

10 & Under 

Mateo Volcansek from Atomic City Aquatic Club dominated the field within the 10 & unders. Volcansek won the 200 IM (3:00.07) by over 18 seconds and dropped 17 seconds from his previous best time from July 2022. He also won the 50 free, backstroke and butterfly. Moreover, he led the field by almost 18 seconds in the 100 butterfly (1:20.99) and more than 11 seconds in the 100 backstroke (1:20.54). He also added a pair of second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Out of his eight events, he went PBs in seven of them.

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