2019 Speedo Sectionals Cleveland: Molly Kowal, Sophia Tuinman Back on Top

Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

By Danny Whirlow, Swimming World College Intern. 

Day 3 of Speedo Sectionals Cleveland was another evening of action-packed swims. Ohio State Swim Club extended their lead to 1511.5 combined points, though Club Wolverine continues to fight despite being down almost 300 points, sitting with a combined total of 1217.5.

Women’s 50 Butterfly

Bearcat Swimming’s Anhelina Kutsko returned to the top of podium with a time of 27.59. Hot on her heels was Katherine Trace of the Ohio State Swim Club. Her second-place finish came at 27.76. In third place would be Crile Hart of the Cleveland Swimming Institute with a time of 28.26.

Justine Murdock of Atlantis Swimming touched a moment later at 28.31, netting her fourth place. Fifth place would go to Mia Keranen of Club Wolverine, who clocked in at 28.42. The weekend’s second tie occurred when Liquid Lightning’s Claire Abbasse and Ohio State Swim Club’s Rebekah Bradley hit the wall 28.51. Eighth place would go to Lake Eerie Swimmings’ Parker Timken at 28.56.

Men’s 50 Butterfly

Another meet record would broken this weekend, this time by Josef Pohlmann of the Ohio State Swim Club. His time, a 24.41. He said of the race:

“I feel pretty good; I’m tapered for this meet and I’ve been training all summer long and grinding for it, so it felt really good. I didn’t think I would go that fast!”

On Ohio State Swim Club’s continued dominance, he pointed to the fun, team-oriented atmosphere they’ve brought, in particular how he and teammate Ruslan Gasiev have pushed each other throughout the weekend.


Pohlmann with the gold/Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

The silver medal would go to William Rose of Lake Eerie Swimming, whose time was a 24.61. Unattached Michael Schwers would also return to the podium, this time to the bronze medal. His time was 24.63.

Rose’s teammate Dominic Poletta would secure fourth place with a 24.77. Oly’s Rodolfo Aguilar-Fernandez’s 24.95 finish put him fifth place, while Noah Lense of Ohio State Swim Club would finish in sixth place with a time of 25.05. Lake Eerie Swimming’s Joseph Armstrong finished at 25.28 in seventh, and William Chan of Club Wolverine rounded out the top 8 with a 25.42.

Women’s 100 Backstroke

Club Wolverine’s Sophia Tuinman, with a time of 1:03.04, would claim yet another gold medal in a backstroke event this weekend. Her teammate Casey Chung secured second place for the Wolverines, clocking in at a 1:03.19. SwimStrongville’s Felicia Pasadyn would return to the podium, this time in third place. Her time was a 1:03.50.

Another Wolverine, Claire Young, would finish fourth at 1:04.06. Ohio State Swim Club’s Rebekah Bradley took fifth with a 1:04.27. Crile Hart of the Cleveland Swimming Institute finished sixth barely a stroke later at 1:04.31. A THIRD tie would occur when Devin Landstra of the Ohio State Swim Club and Alexandra Nelson of Club Wolverine touched at 1:04.56. Remarkable.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

Colin McDermott of the Ohio State Swim Club set himself apart in a competitive heat, claiming first place with a 56.78. Bearcat Joseph Puglessi finished in second place with a time of 57.45. And at 57.56, McDermott’s teammate Robert Kondalski secured third place.

Fourth place would go to the unattached Brett Spires, who hit the wall at 57.63. Kaden Smesko of Firestone Akron Swim Team was close behind him, taking fifth place with a time of 57.74. Puglessi’s teammate Blake Hanna would finish in sixth place at 57.96; Cincinnati Marlin Aaron Sequeira would take seventh place with a hair later at 57.97. Ruslan Gasiev of Ohio State Swim Club fame would finish in eighth place with a 58.48.

Women’s 400 Freestyle

Ohio State Swim Club’s Molly Kowal was back with a vengeance this evening, conquering the podium with a time of 4:19.19. Unperturbed by just missing the gold in the 400 IM on day 2, Kowal expressed that her plan before the 400 free was to just swim it like she always does. She also noted, like her teammate Pohlmann, that the team-mentality and having fun was essential to her success:

“Its really cool when they go down [the heat] and name everyone I train with everyday, and I see what they’re doing and the work they put, its just fun to swim with them.”


Kowal on top/Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

Her teammate Veronica Tafuto would join her on the podium to accept the silver medal. Her time was a 4:20.60. The bronze would go to Lucy Callard of the Powel Crosley Jr. YMCA, with a time of 4:21.22.

Fourth place would be secured by another Ohio State Swim Club swimmer, in this case it was Nicole Fye, who would clock in at 4:21.76. Hudson Explorer Aquatic’s Paige McCormick finished in fifth with a 4:23.28, and Hannah Schlegel of Ohio Swimming finished in sixth with a 4:24.06. Georgia White of Ohio State Swim Club would take seventh with a time of 4:24.82. Finally, eighth place went to Bearcat Swimming’s Sydeny St Rose-Finear, who hit the wall at 4:25.21.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

Din Selmanovic of Bearcat Swimming would dominate his heat, clocking in at 3:59.91 to claim first place. Michigan Swimmings’ Kyriakos Peristeridis would come back to take second place at 4:01.95, and Oly’s Rodolfo Aquilar-Fernandez finished in third with a 4:02.56.

Ohio State Swim Club’s John Sampson (4:03.72) and Carson Burt (4:03.89) would take fourth and fifth, respectively, while sixth place would go to Vactionland Swim Club’s Charles Clark with a 4:04.37. Cincinnati Marlin Kellen Roddy finished seventh with a 4:05.01, and Selmanovic’s teammate Connor Rumpit would finish eighth at 4:07.67.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

Club Wolverine’s Erin Szara would hold of Ohio State Swim Club’s Hanna Gresser to solidify her spot atop the podium. Her time was a 1:10.55. She expressed immense satisfaction with her swim:

“I feel really good. It was really great to go a best time and have a faster finals swim then prelims swim.”

Szara looks to be the top seed going into the final tomorrow for the 50 breaststroke. The aforementioned Gresser would finish second at 1:10.95, and Cleveland Swimming Institute’s Hannah Bach would be third with a time of 1:11.10.


Szara all smiles/Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

Claire Tuttle of Hudson Explorer Aquatic finished fourth with a time of 1:11.50, and Szara’s teammate Ellianna Machado took fifth place at 1:12.60. Gresser’s teammate Laura Banks finished in sixth place with a 1:13.24. A FOURTH tie, between Grosse Pointe Gators’ Ginger McMahon and Canton City Schools’ Jamyson Robb, occured at 1:13.73. Absolutely remarkable.

Men’s 100 Breastroke

Bearcat Swimming’s Dominic Polling took the gold home with a time of 1:02.55. Not far behind him was Ohio State Swim Club’s Evan McFadden, scored silver with a 1:02.67. Club Wolverine’s William Chan would touch the wall a second later at 1:03.31, netting him the bronze.

Just out-touched by Chan, Jason Mathews, a teammate of McFaddeon’s, would secure fourth place with a time of 1:03.47. Polling’s teammate Dalton Lillibridge finished in fifth at 1:04.56, while Grosse Pointe Gator Joseph Kucharczyk took sixth with a 1:05.24. Chan’s teammate Benjamin Gingher finished in sixth place with a 1:05.25. Rounding out the top 8 would be Novi Sturgeons’ Travis Nitkiewicz, who clocked in at 1:05.40.

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Hannah Bellard of Club Wolverine claimed first place with a time of 2:14.47, narrowly out-swimming Firestone Akron Swim Team’s surging Mackenzie Vargas, who settled for second place with a time of 2:14.72. Katherine Trace of the Ohio State Swim Club would return to the podium in third place. Her time was a 2:15.41.

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Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

Vargas’ teammate Jessica Bonezzi came in fourth shortly after with a time 2:15.63, while  SwimStrongville’s Felicia Pasadyn hit the wall at 2:16.51, placing her in fifth. Wolverine Emma Cleason finished in sixth place with a 2:18.73, and Sarah Turchanik of the Ridgewood Y Dolphins took seventh with a 2:19.65. Finally, Bearcat Swimming’s Jordyn Ryan would finish eighth at 2:19.94.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

Alex Dillmann of Ohio State Swim Club would sit atop of the podium, gold medal around his neck, all of his competitors below him.

“I feel great. Went a best time this morning, and then again by a good amount!”

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Dillamann beams with satisfaction/Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

With no more events to compete in, he expressed his desire to break the Ohio State Swim Club 200 fly record, and to continue to drop more time at Nationals in California in two weeks time. Receiving the silver medal was Ohio Clippers’ Matthew Sims, who clocked in at 2:00.98. The bronze went to Michael Balcerak of Bearcat Swimming, who had a time of 2:03.01.

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Noah Lense hams it up for his teammates / Photo Courtesy: Danny Whirlow

Dillmann’s teammate Matthew Reed secured fourth place at 2:06.47, fending off Club Wolverine’s David Cleason, who settled on fifth place at 2:06.63. Eric Chimes of the Cleveland Swimming Institute finished in sixth place at 2:06.86, and another of Dillmann’s teammates, Noah Lease, finished in seventh. His time was a 2:07.21. Unattached Scott Piper would take eighth place with a 2:07.37.

Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay

A pair of Ohio State Swim Club relays would one-two the 800 free relay. The A team, manned by Ruslan Gasiev, Daniel Gloude, John Sampson, and Carson Burt were first to the wall with a time of 7:37.68. The B team of Lain Weaver, Andrew Loy, Paul Delakis, and Jason Matthews were next at 7:42.97. Third place would go to the A relay representing Hudson Explorer Aquatic, consisting of Jay Johnson, Ross Palazzo, Caleb Tuckerman, and Jacob Tuckerman. Their time was a 7:46.94.

In fourth place would be the A relay representing Oly Swimming (7:49.17), followed by the A relay for the Cincinnati Marlins (7:49.91) in fifth. Club Wolverine’s A relay took sixth place (7:49.91). The A relays of both the Dayton Raiders (7:55.23) and Canton City Schools (8:01.08) would finish in seventh and eighth, respectively.

The final day of the meet will begin tomorrow at 9:00 am EST.

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