[PSYCH SHEET] Elite Age Groupers Clash with College Veterans at 2018 Iowa City Sectionals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The 2018 Speedo Summer Sectionals meet at Iowa City is shaping up to be an interesting battle between the top age group talent and the local college swimmers training over the summer in the midwest. Many swimmers from elite Division I schools – like the University of Wisconsin, University of Iowa and the University of Kentucky – are represented in the psych sheet.

A handful of these athletes are entered with seed times in certain events that narrowly miss the US National Meet qualifying standard. Given that the entry deadline for Nationals has already passed, we could very well see some of these college swimmers make a fully-rested push to establish themselves as viable competitors within the highest echelon of USA Swimming.

Despite the presence of elite college athletes in the psych sheet, many promising local age group talents have held their own in the ranks. Some of these age groupers are even heading into a few events seeded first, ahead of many Division I athletes.


Here are a few of the age group stars who are topping the psych sheet:

Emma Lasecki

Green Bay, Wisconsin native Emma Lasecki is the top seed in the women’s 400m IM. Her seed time is from last year’s Summer Speedo Sectionals at the University of Minnesota, where she finished second to a current fourth year on the Missouri State University swim team. The rising high school junior is also seeded 2nd in both the women’s 200m IM and 200m Fly.

Perhaps this is finally the year where Lasecki takes the crown over the elite collegiate athletes she has been capable of challenging all throughout her high school career.

Maggie Graves

At just 14 years old, distance ace Maggie Graves is seeded first in the women’s 1500m Freestyle by almost ten seconds. Representing Barrington Swim Club in Illinois, the young swimmer is poised for a dominant swim, as her seed time is from a club meet one month ago, though there is no telling how rested she was.

If she is in fact rested for this meet, a US Nationals cut is realistically possible. Moreover, the meet record – held by her former club teammate Kirsten Jacobsen, who is now an All-American for the University of Arizona – isn’t out of the cards, either.

Bottom line: Graves is a force to be reckoned with, no matter how many years her competitors have on her.

Ben McDade

Indiana University commit Ben McDade is the top seed in the men’s 400m freestyle with an entry time of 3:58.82, the only swimmer seeded under the 4:00 barrier. The Wisconsin state champ is almost three seconds ahead of his closest competitor, rising Minnesota sophomore Cameron Kelley.

The men’s 400 free is actually only one of two events that have a non-collegiate athlete as the top seed on the men’s side. The only other event is the 200m fly, where Wisconsin commit Frank Niziolek holds the top spot.

McDade will look to dominate the 400, but he’ll have his work cut out for him in both the 800m and 200m freestyles, where he is seeded second and fifth respectively.

Sophie Sorenson

University of Kentucky commit Sophie Sorenson is the last age group swimmer to rank first in an event heading into the meet. Sorenson is the top seed in the women’s 200m back with a 2:16.11, narrowly ahead of her future Wildcat teammate Alexandra Nelson, who is seeded second with a 2:16.34.

The Kentucky women’s swim team is well known for their incredibly deep backstroke program, boasting three finalists at the 2018 NCAA Division I Championships in the 200y Backstroke, including Asia Seidt, the 6th fastest performer in history.

A 1-2 finish for the Wildcats will do nothing but further solidify their elite backstroke legacy, an outcome which seems entirely likely.