2019 Speedo Sectionals Cleveland: Club Wolverine Stands Above the Rest

Backstrokers take their mark/Photo Courtesy: Kristen Kinzer

By Danny Whirlow, Swimming World College Intern. 

There was no shortage of action on the first day of the 2019 Speedo Sectionals Cleveland. Hosted by Cleveland University, the Robert F. Busbey Natatorium was packed with swimmers looking to prove they belonged on top of the podium.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

Club Wolverine eviscerated their way through the 200 backstroke, with Wolverine swimmers claiming six of the top eight spots. Sophia Tuinman took the top spot, clocking in at 2:14.14.

“I felt like it was a pretty good swim as far as where I’m at right now. I’m going out to Summer Juniors in California, so we’ll be looking for faster swims there, but it was good for now,” Tuinman told Swimming World.


Sophia Tuinman stands atop the podium/Photo Courtesy: Kirsten Kinzer

Close behind was Paige McCormick of Hudson Explorer Aquatic, taking second place with a time of 2:14.55. Tuinman’s Wolverine teammates Alexandra Nelson (2:16.52) , Casey Chung (2:17.49), Sydney Stricklin (2:20.91), and Elizabeth Spears (2:21.46) would finish third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.

Olivia Pisano, also of Hudson Explorer Aquatic, would finish seventh at 2:21.74, and Kylie Evenson, of, you guessed it, Club Wolverine would round out the top 8, finishing in eighth place. Her time was 2:22.88.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Defending champion Blake Hanna of Bearcat Aquatics successfully fended off his competitors to secure first place at 2:02.27. And despite an early lead, Cincinnati Marlins’ Aaron Sequeira would settle for second place with a time of 2:05.11. Third place would go to Abraham Apfel of Club Wolverine, who finished at 2:05.51.

Ohio State Swim Club swimmers John Sampson (2:05.66) and Robert Kondalski (2:06.07) would finish fourth and fifth respectively. In sixth place, Bora Unalmis of Club Wolverines touched the wall at 2:06.44. Ethan Hanna of the Ohio Clippers would finish close behind him at 2:06.60. Bearcat Joesph Puglessi finished eighth with a time of 2:07.19.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Taylor Petrak of Ohio State Swim Club would rocket to a 25.86 first place finish, narrowly beating out a surging Sydney Stricklin. Remarkably, Stricklin’s own 25.89 would bring her back to the podium she just stepped off the event prior. Petrak’s teammate Freya Rayner finish third, clocking it at 25.96.

Firestone Akron Swim Team’s Sarah Watson would finish in fourth place with a 26.01. A pair of Bearcats would follow her, with Anhelina Kutsko in fifth and Madeline Exton in sixth. Their times were 26.28 and 27.11, respectively. Another Ohio State Swim Club swimmer, Lucija Jurkovic-Persia would finish seventh, touching the wall at 27.27. Amelia Armstrong-Grant would take eighth place with a 27.49.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

The Ohio State Swim Club would find themselves victorious once again, this time with Ruslan Gaziev‘s 23.09 being the top time. His teammate Josef Pohlmann would secure second place with a time of 23.29. Mid-Michigan Aquatics’ Kevin Mills would splits hairs with Joseph Armstrong of Canton City Schools for third and fourth place; Millis with ultimately be victorious, taking third and leaving Armstrong with fourth. Their times were 23.42 and 23.43, respectively.

Ohio State Swim Club’s Andrew Loy finished in fifth place with a time of 23.46. In sixth place would be Gregory Kalin of Mercy Heathplex Sea Wolves, who touched the wall at 23.55. Armstrong’s teammate Mason Romstadt would finish at 23.96, securing him seventh place, and Oly Swimming’s Rodolfo Aguilar-Fernandez would round out the top eight with a 24.10.


Photo Courtesy: Kristen Kinzer

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Laura Goettler of Lake Erie Silver Dolphins would emerge in first place from hotly contested 200 breaststroke. Her time was 2:35.00. Ohio State Swim Club’s Hanna Gresser would finish second with a 2:35.80, and Selina Reil of the Ohio Clippers would fight off Firestone Akron Swim Team’s Madeline Dyer for third place. Reil would finish with a 2:36.81, while Dyer, who took fourth, finished with a 2:36.88.

Hudson Explorer Aquatic’s Claire Tuttle would settle for fifth with a time of 2:37.09, and Bowling Green Swim Club’s Kelsey Morgan would finish in sixth with a 2:38.28. Dyer’s teammate Andrea Fischer would take seventh with a 2:38.93, and Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics’ Sophia Umstead finished eighth at 2:42.49.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

Charlie Swanson of Club Wolverine and Olympic trials (2016) fame would glide into first place with a noteworthy 2:11.88, blasting the previous pool record to smithereens in the process. After the race, he remarked:

“I’m pretty proud of it, for this point in the season. It was a good step, I kind of wanted to go a best time, and I was a second off, so I’m looking forward to my next meet.”


Swanson poised to start/Photo Courtesy: Kristy Kinzer

Hudson Explorer Aquatic’s Ross Palazzo’s 2:16.51 would secure him second place, with Bearcat Aquatics’ Dominic Polling finishing in third place with a 2:17.40. Joseph Kucharczyk of the Grosse Pointe Gators took fourth, clocking in at a 2:18.29, and the Cincinnati Marlins’ Scott Sobolewski finished fifth at 2:20.68.

Rounding out the top eight would be another Bearcat, Dalton Lillibridge, who finished in seventh place with a time of 2:23.06. In eighth place would be Daniel Sims of the Ohio Clippers, whose time was a 2:24.35.

Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay

The Ohio State Swim Club women wouldn’t let Swanson have all the record-breaking glory. The team of Georgia White, Lucija Jurkovic-Persia, Katherine Trace, and Nicole Frye would set a new meet record with their 8:16.73 first place finish.

Sophia Tuinman would return to the podium once more, joining forces with Sydney Stricklin, Kaylee Williams, and Hannah Bellard to claim second place with a time of 8:20.38. Club Wolverine would secure third place as well, with the B relay team of Abigail Ketslakh, Kylie Goit, Vivian Vanrenterghem, and Elizebeth Spears clocking in at 8:28.86.

In fourth place would be the Ohio State Swim Club B team (8:33.05), followed by the A team representing Oly Swimming (8:34.09). Hudson Explorer Aquatic’s A team would finish in sixth (8:37.56), with Oly Swimming’s B relay coming seventh (8:40.18). The Cincinnati Marlin’s B relay would take eighth place (8:42.11).

The meet will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 am EST.

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