Weekly Wonders of Age Group Swimming: 5/3/2024

In our Weekly Wonders of Age Group Swimming series, we celebrate swimmers of every age and experience level with age group profiles of some recent results.

Leah O’Connell, 11, Long Island Aquatic Club (MR): O’Connell set eight best times at the Speedo Long Island Challenge last weekend, highlighted by her performance in the 800 freestyle. The LIAC product put up a time of 9:46.88 in the 800 free, tying her best time from last summer to rank 1st among 11-year-old girls and 3rd in the 11-12 age group in the U.S. this season. The time also slots her in at 6th for 11-year-olds since the beginning of 2020. The younger sister of boys’ age group standout Reid O’Connell, Leah went 5:30.39 in the 400 IM to crack the top 10 in the 11-12 age group this season and 2nd among 11-year-olds.

Jude Burkhart, 12, North Baltimore Aquatic Club (MD): Swimming the long course 400 IM for just the third time in his life, Burkhart dropped eight and a half seconds in 4:58.53 at the Carol Chidester Invite, launching him into 24th all-time in the boys’ 11-12 age group. Burkhart’s previous best time stood at 5:07.08, set last August. The 12-year-old NBAC swimmer set seven best times at the meet, including a 2:24.05 outing in the 200 IM that ranks him 1st in the 11-12 age group this season.

Reagan Strohhacker, 12, Hanover Aquatics, Inc. (VA): Strohhacker logged six lifetime bests at last weekend’s Helen Wang Sunflower Classic, highlighted by her swim in the 50 fly. Representing Hanover Aquatics, Strohhacker broke 30 seconds for the first time in 29.98, ranking her 1st in the girls’ 11-12 age group this season. She also had a standout showing in the 50 free, touching in 28.45 to rank 8th for 11-12s in 2023-24.

Justin Shi, 14, Dragon Swim Team (PV): Shi dropped seven personal bests at the ASC Spring Long Course Meet in Annapolis, Md., led by his swims in the breast and medley events. The Dragon Swim Team product cracked the top 10 in the boys’ 13-14 age group this season in the 200 breast (2:28.35) and 200 IM (2:12.37), ranking 9th and 10th, respectively. He also went 4:46.38 to rank 22nd in the age group this season, and 1:09.45 in the 100 breast to sit 23rd.

Vivienne Zangaro, 14, Long Island Aquatic Club (MR): Also racing at the Speedo Long Island Challenge, LIAC’s Zangaro set six PBs including a 2:03.41 outing in the 200 free. That swim ranks her 4th among 13-14 girls in the U.S. this season and 70th all-time. She also moves into 4th this season in the 400 free (4:22.00), 800 free (9:06.26), and takes over 8th in the 200 fly (2:21.91).

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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