Presenting our Weekly Wonders from July 19-28, 2019:
Griffin O’Leary, 15, Barrington Swim Club (BSC-IL): 200 back, 2:05.59 – At 13, Griffin O’Leary completed the 2017 long course season with a best time of 2:10.76, and brought that down to 2:07.26 in the 2018 season. In his early swims this season, he was back in the 2:09-2:13 range, and then in late May, was 2:06.66. Two weekends ago, he dropped over a second and went 2:05.59 at sectionals. At the same meet, he went a best time in the 1500 free (16:18.49) and 200 fly (2:05.71).
Jade Garstang, 12, Olympic Aquatics (OA-UT): 100 fly, 1:05.38 – Twelve-year-old Jade Garstang went 12-for-12 in Utah state record at the 2019 Utah Long Course Championships. That included nine record-breaking individual swims and three relays. Her best time in the 100 fly heading into the 2019 long course was 1:09.36; she dropped two seconds in June, getting to 1:07.38, then was 1:06.63 in prelims and 1:05.38 in finals at the meet. Garstang’s other records came in the 50 fly (28.78), 50 back (31.51), 100 back (1.08.21), 200 back (2.28.73), 200 IM (2.29.51), 200 medley relay (2.06.14, 28,13 fly split), 200 free relay (1:57.72, 28.75 leadoff split) and 400 free relay (4.20.46, 1.03.14 anchor split).
Piper Wood Prince, 14, Chicago Wolfpack Aquatic Club (CWAC-IL): 800 free, 9:03.80 – In her first two swims of the 2019 long course season, 14-year-old Piper Wood Prince was 9:39.40 and 9:22.55 in the 800 free, after ending summer 2018 with a 9:13.83. Last weekend at the 2019 Illinois Age Group Championships, she dropped over 10 seconds, going 9:03.80 and hitting a 2019 Futures Cut. She also went a best time in the 100 free (59.99, breaking a minute for the first time), 200 free (2:06.39), 400 free (4:21.93) and 100 back (1:10.75).
Nico Hernandez-Tome, 18, University of Alabama Swim Club (BAMA-SE): 400 free, 3:56.85 – Eigtheen-year0old Nico Hernandez-Tome broke 4:00 for the first time in the 400 free two weekends ago, and did it in a big way. In June, he dropped time for the first time in three years, going from 4:03.25 to 4:02.10, and then later the same day, 4:00.46. In his first swim of the 2019 Southeastern Long Course Championships, he went 4:00.10, and then in finals, was 3:56.85 for a 2020 Olympic Trials cut. He also hit a Trials cut in the 1500 free at that meet (15:43.91).
Ellie Jew, 17, Lake Oswego Swim Club (LOSC-OR): 100 breast, 1:10.84 – A then 15-year-old Ellie Jew was 1:11.39 to end the 2017 long course season in the 100 breast. In nine attempts in 2018, she did not improve on that time. After six attempts in the 1:11 to 1:17 range in 2019, she had a breakthrough two weekends ago, going 1:10.84 at Mt. Hood Sectionals. That time is good for 2020 Olympic Trials, her first qualifying event this year.
Hunter Kim, 16, Badger Swim Club (BAD-MR): 400 IM, 4:27.63 – Sixteen-year-old Hunter Kim entered the 2019 long course season with a best time of 4:34.60 in the 400 IM. In March, he dropped that to 4:32.15. In early July, he went 4:31.57, and then two weeks ago, dropped all the way to 4:27.63 and is the third-fastest 16-year-old in the nation this season. Kim also went a best time in the 800 free at the same meet, going 8:47.90.