By Reach for the Wall Staff
March 25-27 in Christiansburg VA, the 2022 Eastern Zone Sectional Meet was competed, consisting of teams from the ‘Southern’ Section of the Eastern Zone, consisting of 60 + teams from the Alleghany Mountain, Middle Atlantic, Potomac Valley, Maryland, and Virginia LSC’s. Since these meets generally have no limits on age or speed, 18 and unders who have only one cut (Qualifying Times) may find themselves racing against college age or older who are trying to qualify for some other meet. For reference here’s the graphic for where the Sectional meet stands in the USA Swimming competition pyramid and a prior post we published on these meets: What are Zones and Sectionals?:
Each day the Christiansburg Aquatic Center live streamed the events via their YouTube channel, and each session has their own link.
SwimSwam ran brief updates for the weekend, highlighting some of the top swims:
Here’s our rundown of top swims from Occoquan (and a few others) in PVS.
In Event #1, the Women’s 1000 Freestyle, Occoquan got scoring swims from Annaleagh Stahl (12th place), Katie Luetkenhaus (13th) and just outside of the top 16 (scoring places), Brooke Worth captured19th. In the next event, Occoquan’s Ben Huffman won the 1650 Freestyle in 15:49.29, 2 seconds clear of the field and just off his best time. His teammate Peter Gilbert dropped over 7 seconds for 3rd place and Alexander Grocholski dropped over 3 seconds for 7th place!
Alyssa Martel dropped over 2 seconds from her prelim swim to capture 2nd place in the Women’s 200 Freestyle, Jamie Cornwell took the top spot in the B final with a lifetime best 1:52.36. In the Men’s 200, OCCS Owen Hoban and Arlington Aquatics Malcolm McKenzie has a close race for 3rd with Hoban touching in 1:41.59 and McKenzie just behind in 1:41.72, both swims best times! Sophia Heilen achieved a best time by .55 seconds winning the 100 breaststroke, with Emma Hannam capturing 4th, just ahead of Rockville’s Joyce Wu. In the Men’s 100 Breaststroke, Collin McKenzie lead a 1-2-3 finish for AAC, touching 1st in 54.95, followed by Michael Zhang in 55.37 and Matvei Namakonov in 55.67! In the Women’s 100 Butterfly, OCCS’s Sophia Heilen took 2nd place in 55.37 with her teammate Emily Haugen in 7th with 57.12. In the Men’s 100 Butterfly, OCCS’s Joshua Hochard took 3rd in 49.28, AAC’s Matvei Namakonov was 4th in 49.58 (impressive double!) and Benjamin Huffman placed 7th in 50.41. In the Wome’ns 400 IM, NCAP’s Gweneth Frick placed 5th in a personal best time of 4:30.45. Friday Finals concluded with the Men’s 400 IM. AAC’s JT Ewing crushed the field, winning by close to 10 seconds in 3:53.78, dropping 5 seconds from his prior best time. OCCS’s Owen Hoban (2nd swim of the night) capturing 3rd in 4:04.63.
Sophia Heilen (OCCS) continued her stellar meet by winning the 200 Butterfly in 2:02.13. Joining her in the top 8 were Tess Penny (OCCS), 6th in 2:07.33, and Madeleine Simmons (ASA), 7th in 2:08.22. In the Men’s race, Aiden Erkan (RMSC) was the PVS top finisher, nabbing 6th place in 1:53.59, a personal best by almost 2 seconds! Noah Robinson (NCAP) couldn’t replicate his personal best prelim swim of 1:54.82, finishing 8th in 1:57.87. In the B final, Aiden Grendysz (OCCS) and Liam Rooney (RMSC) battled for the top spot, with Grendysz touching first in 1:55.42, just ahead of Rooney 1:55.69. The Women’s 50 Free was dominated by Lily King ( not that Lily King, but the 15 yr old Lily from Mount Pleasant Aqua Club) who won the race in 22.68, ahead of Jamie Cornwall (OCCS) in 23.26. Emily Haugen (OCCS) was the other top 8 finisher from PVS, placing 5th in 23.67. AAC’s Matvei Namakonov took the top spot in the Men’s 50 Free, winning in 20.31, Christopher Stankiewicz (TANK) tied for 2nd in 20.72, Joshua Hochard (OCCS) 4th in 20.82, and Benjamin Huffman showing his range finishing 5th in 21.09! Rounding out the top 8, AAC’s Malcolm McKenzie placed 7th in 21.56 and Benjamin Firtag (OCCS) was 8th in 21.56. In the Women’s 200 Breaststroke, Joyce Wu (RMSC) was the top PVS finisher, capturing 12th in 2:25.48. Michael Zhang AAC took the top spot in the Men’s 200 Breaststroke, as the only swimmer under 2:00, touching in 1:59.08. His teammate Matvei Namakonov got his second swim of the night placing 5th in 2:04.14, a personal best by almost 3 seconds! Gweneth Frick (NCAP) got her first win of the meet in the Women’s 100 Backstroke, touching in a personal best 55.75. Alyssa Sagle (NCAP), who is 13 years old (and the only other PVS swimmer in the top 8), finished 4th in her personal best 56.46. In the Men’s 100 Backstroke, Owen Hoban (OCCS) was the top finisher for PVS, grabbing 4th place in 50.99. In the Women’s 500 Freestyle, Alyssa Martel (OCCS) touched in 4:59.60 and Alexia Sawwa (NCAP) in 5:04.84 finished 2nd and 5th respectively. In the Men’s race, Benjamin Huffman came up .08 shy of winning, touching in 4:31.61. Peter Gilbert (OCCS) was 5th in 4:38.36, Miles Haraldsson (Sea Devils) was 7th in 4:41.89 and John Verosko (OCCS) 8th in 4:52.42.
Alyssa Martel moved up a spot from her 500 finish & took 1st in the Women’s 1650, finishing in 17:09.90. In the Men’s 1000, it was again Benjamin Huffman (OCCS) in the top spot winning in a personal best time of 9:26.49, Peter Gilbert, 3rd 9:36.63, and Alexander Grocholski, 7th in a personal best 9:44.63. In the Women’s 200 Backstroke, Annaleagh Stahl (OCCS) finished 4th in 2:02.02followed by Gweneth Frick (NCAP) who finished 7th in 2:03.05. The Men’s 200 Backstroke featured Joe Hayburn from the Annapolis Swim Club (MD LSC) who set a new meet record and the only swimmer under 1:50 at finals, winning in 1:45.95! Owen Hoban (OCCS) was 4th in 1:51.91 just .01 off his morning swim where he set a personal best! Jaimie Cornwell captured another victory for OCCS in the Women’s 100 Freestyle, touching in 50.96. Charis Roundtree (CSC) and only 13 years old finished in a tie for 4th in 5.62, while Emily Haugen (OCCS) was 6th in 52.69 and Alexia Sawwa (NCAP) 7th in 52.98. Matvei Namakonov (AAC) swept the ‘sprints’ taking 1st in the Men’s 100 Freestyle in 45.31, followed closely by Joshua Hochard (OCCS) 45.56. Joe Hayburn swam his second final of the night, finishing 3rd in 45.77, Malcolm McKenzie (AAC) was 4th in 46.24 and Benjamin Huffman 5th in 46.46. In the concluding individual race of the night, Gweneth Frick was touched out, finishing 2nd in a lifetime best 2:06.70. Sophia Heilen (OCCS) was 5th in 2:07.68. Michael Zhang finished the meet with a win in the Men’s race as the only swimmer under 1:50, touching in 1:49..93. Owen Hoban (OCCS) was 3rd in 1:53.19, Noah Robinson (NCAP) 5th in 1:55.53, Christopher Stankiewicz (TANK) 6th in 1:55.84, Alex Crown (NCAP) 7th in 1:56.45, and Andrew Hendrickson (NCAP) 8th in 1:56.47.
Top 5 Team Scores:
- Occoquan Swimming Inc – 1184
- Nation’s Capital Swim Club – 822
- Lancaster Aquatic Club – 622.5
- Arlington Aquatic Club – 522
- Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics – 475.5
- Occoquan Swimming Inc – 658
- Nation’s Capital Swim Club – 393
- Arlington Aquatic Club – 391
- Annapolis Swim Club – 311.5
- Loyola Blakefield Aquatics – 199
- Occoquan Swimming Inc – 526
- Lancaster Aquatic Club – 441
- Fox Chapel Killer Whales – 432.5
- Nation’s Capital Swim Club – 429
- Team Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics – 328.5
Congratulations to all the swimmers, coaches, parents and supporters from Occoquan!!