Yezan Alsader
Courtesy of: Charles Yourd
Speedo Champions Series editorial coverage this summer is proudly sponsored by SpeedoUSA. For all the latest coverage from sectionals this summer, check out our Summer of Speedo page.

By Elle Meinholz

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, July 18. THE second day of action at the Speedo Champions Series in Minneapolis featured an 11-12 U.S. National Age Group record during prelims along with plenty of strong swims tonight.


The women's 200 meter freestyle got the ball rolling Thursday night. The final heat was filled with speed as six of the girls achieved personal bests from their morning swims. Hannah Boyd, winner of the 800 meter free, continued to have an impressive meet taking first in the event with a best time of 2:02.34. Closely behind Boyd was young talent Katherine Drabot of Ozaukee Aquatics, who dropped 1.71 seconds for a best time of 2:02.45. Alex Meyers from Schroeder of Wisconsin came in a close third with a 2:02.71, her personal best by a second.

Wisconsin Aquatics gave an impressive performance in the men's 200 meter freestyle. Nick Caldwell, competing unattached but training with Wisconsin, won the event by almost three seconds with a 1:51.95. Caldwell also won the 800 free last night. Tight second and third places were won by Wisconsin Aquatics' Damon Zito and T.J. Thompson. Zito, who finished second in the 100 meter freestyle last night, went a best time of 1:54.77. Thompson added some time but still had a notable race finishing right behind Zito with a time of 1:55.03.

Next was the women's 400 meter IM, where 17-year old Hannah Kastigar, second place in the 200 meter butterfly last night, won the event with a 4:50.90, Kastigar's best time by a second. Drabot pulled off a tough double tonight, and shortly after her second place finish in the 200 meter free, she earned herself a second place in the 400 IM as well with a time of 4:51.97.

Although she was a couple seconds from her best, Drabot's lineup and performances continue to demonstrate that she is a tough and talented racer. Gia Dalesandro, winner of the 200 meter fly last night, dropped more than nine seconds to earn herself a time of 4:56.59 and third place in the event. Dalesandro, although only two events in, is already having an outstanding meet dropping more than 17 seconds total so far this weekend.

In the men's 400 meter IM, first-seeded Luke Bushman scratched the finals. Younger brother John Bushman of Wisconsin Aquatics, seeded third going in to finals, won the event with a 4:30.25, his best time by almost two seconds. This is the first year that Bushman has had a substantial amount of long course training, and it is clearly paying off for him. Second place went to Nick Zito, an incoming freshman at the University of Iowa, who went a best time in prelims by six seconds, and proceeded to drop even more time in finals, going a final time of 4:31.87. Alejandro Cisneros of Minnesota earned himself third place with a time of 4:32.19.

Meanwhile, Yezan Alsader of Waves of Bloomington took down his 11-12 U.S. National Age Group record during prelims with a 4:52.24 to take 40th overall. The 12-year-old surpassed his previous mark of 4:54.24 set a month ago at the Gulf Coast Swim Team Invitational. That performance took down the previous age division mark set by Caldwell with a 4:52.92 back in 2006. Ironically, Caldwell is performing well at this meet after transferring from Florida to the University of Wisconsin this summer.

Young talent stepped up in the women's 100 meter backstroke in 15-year old Zoe Avestruz from Aquajets in Minnesota. Avestruz won the event with a personal best of 1:02.46, and is the heir apparent to Olympian Rachel Bootsma in the backstroke for the Aquajets. Second place was Wisconsin Aquatics' Shelby Wilson. Wilson, who transferred to Wisconsin from New Zealand, went a best time of 1:02.91, not far off Avestruz. Kelly Ryan from WEST in Illinois was third with a time of 1:03.63.

In the men's 100 meter backstroke, Drew teDuits, 2013 NCAA champion in the 200 backstroke, won by an impressive margin with a time of 54.95. Second place went to Sean Lehane with a time of 56.53. Originally seeded 24th coming in to the meet, Bryan Wiener came in third place with a best time of 57.12.

In the women's 400 meter free relay, Wisconsin Aquatics' A team of Aja Van Hout, Ivy Martin, Rebecka Palm, and Annie Tamblyn took first place with a time of 3:47.94. The relay's anchor Tamblyn had an outstanding split of a 57.37. Second place was Schroeder YMCA's A team of Alex Meyers, Abigail Raatz, Ashlyn Schoof, and Carolyn Jungers with a time of 3:50.69. Third place with Minnesota's A team of Hailey Szews, Tori Siminec, Tess Behrens, and Kiera Janzen with a time of 3:51.281.

In the men's 400 meter freestyle relay, the Minnesota aquatics A team blew away the final by four seconds with a time of 3:25.43. The team consisted of Danny Brebrick, Kyler Van Swol, Per-Niklas Brinck, and Derek Toomey. (Note: Van Swol and Toomey were fresh off the airplane, arriving Wednesday from competing at the World University Games in Russia.) Second place went to the A relay team of CATS Aquatics, Matthew Harrington, Bogdan Balteanu, Peter Grumhaus, and 100 free champion Connor Black. The CATS men finished with a time of 3:29.77. In a close third place came Wisconsin Aquatics A team of Damon Zito, Drew teDuits, T.J. Thompson, and Austin Byrd with a time of 3:29.98.



Results: Speedo Champions Series, Minneapolis: Day Two