Thursday, June 29th. Indianapolis, IN, at the Phillips 66 National Championships.
The lights drop. The noise from the crowd begins welling up steadily higher and higher. A spotlight appears, and it shines down right on you! Then suddenly, everything goes quiet. “Take your mark…..” demands the official as she speaks through the starting device. “BEEEEP!”
Now maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but for a swimmer, a “swim-off” may be one of the most gut-wrenching challenges they face. For ABSC swimmer Danielle DellaTorre, this intense task would present itself twice… in the same day!
DellaTorre recently graduated from Oconee County high school, and will be joining the Georgia Bulldogs renowned women’s swim team this fall. With “multi-time state champion,” and “Olympic Trials qualifier” on her resume, Danielle is one of the most decorated swimmers in the history of ABSC’s program. But now, the swimmer nicknamed “Duck” can add another title to her impressive list: Swim-off Champ!
Competing at the Phillips 66 National Championships for swimming in Indianapolis this weekend, Danielle experienced one of the most rare events in sports by competing in a double swim-off. On Thursday, June 29th during the prelims session, Danielle tied Janessa Matthews of Ohio in the 50 meter breaststroke in a time of 32.64 seconds.
That however, is not the rare part. Ties in swimming happen frequently, and swim-offs are a somewhat normal occasion during prelim-final meets. What happened next is the mind-boggling part. When Danielle and Janessa dove in the pool to battle it out for their spot in finals, they dueled head-to-head as they raced their one-lap sprint down the pool. Upon touching the wall, they realized the amazing had taken place: they tied again!!!
So once again, Danielle and Janessa had to muster up all of their strength and focus to battle it out for that spot in finals. This time however, Danielle would prevail, earning herself a swim in the finals and a place in the ABSC history books as the champion of a double swim-off! In finals Danielle would go on to improve her personal best time, finishing 22nd overall in a time of 32.43.
Congratulations to Danielle for another amazing feat on the path of an outstanding career as an ABSC swimmer. Luckily, Danielle will remain a member of ABSC even as she competes for UGA over the next four years. Knowing that, I highly doubt this is the last time she’ll blow us away.
To read more about this crazy race, see Danielle featured in this cool article by swimmingworldmagazine.com. https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/swim-off-madness-danielle-dellatorre-and-janessa-mathews-tied-twice/
Pensacola, Florida – June 2-4, 2017.
For the third installment of our 2017 long course season, our Athens Bulldogs took a smaller group down to Pensacola, Fl where we certainly made an impact. ABSC took numerous top-5 finishes in the meet, and McKee Thorsen even brought home the 11-12 boys high point award! The state of Florida may not want us back any time soon…
A small contingent of Senior 1 swimmers was lead by Jackson Harvin, who’s worst finish in all of his 13 races was 8th place! Jackson pulled off a shocking swim with a 20.04 second drop in the 400 IM (5:01.11), moving up from his seed of 13th to finish 2nd overall! He also placed 2nd in the 200 IM, dropping 2.15 seconds for a final time of 2:15.99. Grace Mauldin added to the fast swimming with a 2nd place finish in the 200 back (2:29.15), and 4th place finishes in the 100 back, 100 free, and 200 IM. Sarah Riley added 3rd place finishes in the 100 free (1:01.60) and 400 IM (5:25.41), going personal best times in both.
The Dawgs Group was lead by ABSC’s man of the meet, McKee Thorsen. McKee earned his high point award easily, with 1st place finishes in 8 of his 11 swims!!! He never finished lower than 3rd. Those winning finishes included times drops of 8.82 seconds in the 200 IM (2:43.53), 13.16 seconds in the 400 free (5:11.63), and 1.57 seconds in the 200 free (2:29.66). He dominated the 11-12 boys age group.
Other top performers from the Dawgs included Olivia Dellatorre, Macy Mullis, and Felicia and Rebecca Pursner. Olivia improved her personal best time in every event she swam, including a 6.11 second drop in the 200 breast (3:03.96) for a 6th place overall finish in her age group. She added a 19.67 second drop in the 200 back (2:52.66), and an 8.17 second improvement in the 200 free (2:32.35). Macy blew the state of Florida away in the backstroke, claiming 1st place in the 50 back (32.88) and 3rd overall in the 100 back (1:12.13). Felicia did quite a number on her old personal best times, improving her 50 breast (this is a 50, mind you) by 27.03 seconds!! She also dropped 14.94 off of her 400 IM (6:01.33), and 8.69 off of her 200 free (2:29.12). Rebecca followed a trend with her teammates and threw down personal bests in every one of her events! She highlighted her meet with a 6.81 second drop in the 100 fly (1:24.37, and a 9.93 second improvement in the 100 breast (1:41.98). Rebecca took care of business!
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, the Superpups group made some noise in their time in Pensacola as well! Ginny Thorsen paced the Superpup group, achieving personal best times in every single event she swam all weekend long! Ginny cracked the top 10 (as a young 11 year-old) in the 50 free, with a 9th place finish and personal best time of 32.41. She added a time drop of 10.11 seconds in the 400 free (5:34.45) and 3.65 seconds in the 100 free (1:11.33). In these great swims she achieved several new state qualifying times as well.
Ansley Halbach of the Superpups wins the award for largest time drop of the meet, with a drop of 45.56 seconds (!!) in the 100 fly. She also achieved several new state times. Hannah Torres swam her first long course meet of the summer, and did not disappoint. Hannah destroyed every one of her old personal best times, including her old 200 IM time by roughly 30 seconds, for a new time of 3:14.52.
Other notable swims/results:
Charlotte Foggin: 22.28 second drop in the 200 free. 4 second drop in the 200 IM, new state qualifying time!
Will Foggin: 3 second drop in the 200 IM (2:41.97), 2.87 second drop in the 50 breast (40.18)
Brynn Halbach: 6th place finish 50 back (35.74), 1.5 second drop 200 breast (3:09.70)
Gavin Jones: 7th place finish in 50 fly (30.58), 5.58 second drop 200 back (2:37.59).
Shaan Kanaan: 24.36 second drop in the 50 breast!
Siya Kanaan: big improvements in breaststroke events! 11.04 second drop in the 50 (wow!), and 4.70 seconds in the 100!
Crow Thorsen: 6th place finish 200 fly and 6th place 400 IM
Congratulations to 5 of our very own Athens Bulldog Swim Club athletes, who will be representing us on the Georgia Zone Team this summer!
Charlie Logan and Jackson Harvin will be taking their talents to the 2017 edition of the Southern Zone Championships this year as representatives of team Georgia! Competing in the 15-18 age group, these two will have the opportunity to provide leadership on the team, which also includes 11-12 and 13-14 age groups.
While these two gentlemen will be ruling the pool in Tupelo Mississippi, three other ABSC swimmers will compete for a Georgia Zone Team of the less-chlorinated variety. Simon Casey (11-12 boy), and Emma and Jenna Champer (11-12 girls) will show off their distance swimming skills on the 2017 Open Water Zone Team for Team Georgia! Unable to be kept within the confines of a pool, the’ll brave the lakes of North Carolina as they compete to take down other LSCs.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Zone Team concept, here’s a little background for you. The Georgia Zone Team is a basically an all-star team, where a very small number of swimmers are selected out of the whole state of Georgia to compete against swimmers across the South, or what we call, the “Southern Zone.”
As you know, ABSC is a member of USA Swimming. Under the umbrella of USA swimming, the country is divided up into various “Zones.” Teams in Georgia like ABSC are members of the Southern Zone. Breaking it down further, within each zone there are LSCs. LSC stands for Local Swim Committee, and they are the most local governing bodies that preside over swim clubs like ABSC.
ABSC is a member club of the Georgia Swimming LSC. Other LSC’s in our Zone include Florida, Florida Gold Coast, South Carolina, North Carolina, Southeastern (comprised of teams from Tennessee, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle), Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Gulf, North Texas, South Texas, West Texas, and Border. A map of the LSC’s in can be found here: LSC Map
So the Georgia Zone Team and Georgia Open Water Zone Team are collections of some of the fastest swimmers in our LSC, like an all-star team. Needless to say, the fact that ABSC has 5 swimmers competing at zones this summer is huge honor! The Southern Zone Open Water meet will be held in North Carolina this upcoming weekend, June 2nd – 4th. The pool version of the meet will be held in Tupelo this August.
Congratulations to Charlie, Jackson, Emma, Jenna, and Simon. Here’s to a summer of fast swimming. We know you’ll do your part to bring home a Zones championship to Georgia, and represent your fellow Bulldogs well.
Athens, Georgia – May 12th – 13th 2017.
Your ABSC Bulldogs took to the pool for the second long course meet of the 2017 season this past weekend, and like the first meet, they once again did not disappoint. Even with the fast and furious Swim Atlanta in town for a duel in the pool, the Dawgs stood strong and raced VERY well.
Proving once again to be an unstoppable force, Danielle Dellatorre set the pace for ABSC’s Senior 1 group. Danielle started her meet with a 1st place finish in the 200 free (2:08.36), and continued on with 3 more 1st place finishes, and one 2nd place spot. Charlie Logan from Senior 1 turned in a very impressive day as well, with three 1st place finishes, and 5 out of 5 personal best times! Ryan Wylie also swam a fantastic meet, completing 5/5 personal bests, with 2nd place finishes in the 1500, 200, and 100 freestyles.
In the Senior 2 group, Matthew Colquitt demonstrated impressive resolve in his first long course appearance of the season. He bounced back from a small time add in his first event to then improve his personal best in each of his next four events! The bounce back included a 12th place finish in the 50 free (27.34), and a 2.13 second drop in the 100 breast. Aisha Schulz also turned in an impressive meet with 4/5 personal best times, and a 2.44 second drop in the 200 free to begin her meet.
The Dawgs group was a force to be reckoned with, and none were more forceful than Daniel Huang. With precision and skill, he sliced and diced his previous personal bests. Daniel had separate time drops of 25.13, 21.04, 21.65, 5.58(In the 50 free), and 26.70 in his events. It was unheard of! Bouncing back off of injury, Rebecca Pursner turned in personal bests in all 5 of her events, including 15.80 seconds in the 200 IM. Jenna Champer also proved quite a force, with 2 first place finishes in the 50 fly and 50 back. Proving her versatility, Jenna dropped 1 minute and 35.89 seconds in the 800 free. She can sprint and swim distance!
Ryan Xiao lead the Superpups group in what was nothing short of a beastly performance by a 10-year-old swimming in the 12&under division. Ryan blew his old best times away, with times drops of 19.44 in the 200 IM, 14.09 in the 100 fly, and 3.67 in the 50 free. Ginny Thorsen turned in her second consecutive impressive meet, dropping time in all 5 events including a 5.29 second drop in the 200 IM. Wanting to join in on the time drop party, Miracle Turner took off 8.76 seconds in her 100 back, and 21.23 in her 100 breast!
Finally in the Pups and Gups groups, the Fireshark (Shaan Kannan) from the Pups was on the hunt! Dropping 12.63 in his 100 free, 14.80 in the 100 back, and 18.06 in the 50 fly, there was no escaping the jaws of fire. Even the Gups group got in on the fun, as 8 year-old Lucy Attaway competed in her first long course meet! And might I say, her kick on the 100 backstroke was a thing of beauty. Older swimmers take notes!
Other Notable Swims and Successes:
Eli Bates dropped 20.39 in his 200 IM and 6.13 in the 50 back. Eileen Brook dropped 8.01 in the 200 IM and came in 1st in the 100 back. Emma Champer swam her first 800 free, then proceeded to drop time in every other event she swam! Gunnar Churchwell took 42.68 seconds off of his 1500 free. Olivia Dellatorre took 38.16 off of her 200 breast! Ansley Halbach swam her first 800 and then dropped time in everything else. Lauren Harrison won her heat 4 times out of 5! Gavin Jones dropped 9.04 in his 100 back. Grace Lang took 41.60 seconds off of her 800. Grace Mauldin took first in the 200 back. Geetam Mistry somehow dropped 7.67 seconds in a 50 freestyle…! Emily Schulz improved her 800 free by 1 minute and 17.40 seconds! James Xiao dropped 24.93 in his 200 free and 13.35 in his 200 IM! Lucy Yeomans dropped in 5/6 events, including 8.19 in the 200 IM. Karen Zhao placed second in the 800 free and took off 49.67 seconds.
The 2016/2017 swim season has been an extraordinary one for the Athens Bulldog Swim Club. It all started last summer, when ABSC was represented at the Olympic games by Hali Flickinger, Gunnar Bentz, and Olivia Smoliga, of UGA. By fall, ABSC began experiencing record numbers in terms of roster size, with the largest Red&Black meet in team history.
By December at Senior State, ABSC was able to place 7th overall in Georgia (3rd for medium-sized teams), with 17 year-old senior Danielle Dellatorre once again accomplishing the title of state champ, this time in four events.
At Age Group state in February, ABSC again placed 7th overall, but came second overall out of medium sized teams (and even defeated a couple of the large division teams). Finally, ABSC rounded out the season by winning the Northeast Divisional meet for the first time in 8 years!
Despite all of the success, one other award should not be forgotten. 8 year-old Kai Hernandez-Gambill of ABSC was named the “Age Group Swimmer of the Quarter” by Georgia Swimming at the age group state meet in February. Kai, who had been diagnosed with Perthes Disease, made a miraculous comeback throughout the season, progressing from wheelchair, to crutches, to walking just before Northeast Divisionals.
You can read Kai’s story here: Kai’s Story
Also, Kai’s family has given permission to share a video they created about his disease and recovery. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, give it a watch! Thanks for reading and here’s to another great season of ABSC swimming as we head to long course 2017!
Chamblee, Ga – April 29th, 2017.
ABSC participated in it’s first long course meet of the 2017 season at the IMX Spring Blast hosted by Dynamo swim club. Despite not having trained any long course during practice yet this season, the ABSC swimmers rose to the challenge offering up a surprisingly successful meet performance.
The meet consisted of an Individual Medley-themed format where swimmers participated in 100s (12&under) or 200s (13&over) of the strokes, with some 400 frees and 200 IMs mixed in. Between huge personal best time drops, swimmers competing in their first long course meet, and new ABSC swimmers logging their first meet as a Bulldog, the successes were plentiful for the Pups, Superpups, Dawgs, and Senior 1 swimmers who competed.
John Morgan McDonald, 17, led the way for the team as the only Senior 1 swimmer entered in the meet. He posted personal best times in the 200 fly (2:18.77) and 400 free (4:25.30), placing 3rd and 4th overall respectively in those events.
The Dawgs group was paced by Jenna Champer (12) and James Xiao (12) at the 12&under session, and Karen Zhao (13) in the 13&older session. Jenna posted personal best times in all four of her events. Achieving a 4th place overall finish in the 100 fly, Jenna managed to knock 7.14 seconds off of her best time for a finishing time of 1:14.09. James managed to sneak out a 1st place overall finish in the 100 fly from an outside lane, dropping 11.49 seconds off of his old best time in route to a 1:12.54 swim. He continued to drop time on all four of his events, including over a minute in the 400 free! Karen managed personal bests in 3 out of 4 events, including a 1st place overall finish in the 400 free with a time of 4:53.58 in a new personal best.
The Superpups were led by excellent performances from William Johnson (11), Simon Casey (12), and Parker Fagrell (10). William posted personal best times in all four of his events, including drops of 17.62 seconds in his 200 IM, and 17.99 seconds in his 100 fly from last season. New to the team, Parker and Simon didn’t disappoint. Parker managed to swim his first long course 100 fly, achieve 3 other personal bests, and pull out a 1st place overall finish in the 10&under boys 200 free in a time of 2:41.17. Simon managed time drops in all 4 events as well, including a drop of 18.65 seconds in his 200 IM for an 8th place finish at 2:51.91.
Several ABSC Pup swimmers competed in their first ever long course meet, including Zach Krosner, Tianjie (TJ) Lu, and Sierra Pape. Ava Scott from the Superpups also competed in her first ever long course meet.
Other Notable Items:
– Impressive finishes and time drops in the 400 free: Eileen Brook (24.66 seconds), Jenna Champer (5th overall in 5:12.02), Brynn Halbach (9.93 seconds), Daniel Huang (41.44 seconds), Sam Krosner (11.47 seconds), Grace Lang (1 minute and 1.89 seconds!!!), Macy Mullis (36.69 seconds), Emily Schulz (33.56 seconds), James Xiao (1 minute and 2.02 seconds!!!),
– Daniel Huang 4/4 personal best times, Ginny Thorsen 4/4 personal best times, Payton Morrison 4th overall in 100 breast, Shaan Fireshark Kanaan 1 minute drop in the 100 back.
Note – This is the first in a new series of meet recap blog posts by the ABSC coaching staff. We plan to continue these posts through the summer, and if they’re well received, we’ll continue into the fall.
With the Ramsey Center being closed between Christmas and New Year’s, this year’s Holiday Training Schedule will be different from the past. Seniors will be doing self-directed workouts, some Dawgs will be traveling to Swim Atlanta, and Supers will be training at the YWCO. If you have a question about what you should do, please check with your group’s coach.
ABSC has had a second of our seniors commit to swim in college, this time to a school just across our western border. Camille Porter, a sprint freestyler and backstroker signed this week with the Auburn Tigers. In explaining her decision Camille says,
I chose Auburn University because it felt like home as soon as I stepped on campus last summer. I loved the family atmosphere and everyone on the team. The Auburn coaches have been awesome throughout the process and I know they will help me achieve all of my goals in swimming and life. I was born into a family divided between Auburn and Georgia but now I am so happy to say I’m 100% an Auburn Tiger. War Eagle!
Congratulations to Camille on her decision. We look forward to her return to Athens next year when she’s wearing the orange and blue!
ABSC Senior backstroker, Mary Claire Cardwell has decided to stay home and don the Red & Black. In explaining her decision she says:
I chose UGA because it’s a great academic school and I absolutely love the team and coaches. I also feel very comfortable there because it’s where my club team practices. I’m so excited to be a Bulldog!!
Mary Claire looks to contribute to the Bulldogs’ depth in the backstroke and sprint free. Congratulations to this, the first of our Seniors to find a college home. We on the staff of ABSC look forward to seeing where the rest of our swimmers land!
With October on the horizon, It is time once again to begin thinking about our annual Swim-a-Thon. This has always been an important fundraiser for our team, but this year it is even more essential that all members of ABSC participate. Let me take a moment to explain why. We at ABSC are fortunate in that our home pool is one of the premier facilities in the country, but such access does not come without associated costs. Over the past few years our pool rental hascontinued to increase. We have been able to offset much of the increased cost through swim meets and sponsorships, but to keep from raising swimmer dues further, we must have an effective Swim-a-Thon.
In the Swim-a-Thon each athlete is asked to gather pledges from neighbors, family, and friends. Pledges can either be based on the number of laps swum (with a maximum of 200) or set for a fixed amount. On the day of the Swim-a-Thon, the entire team gathers at the Ramsey Center where they have two hours to complete their laps. Gups generally swim as many laps as they can in the time allotted, Pups are encouraged to swim a minimum of 100 laps, while Super Pups, Dawgs and Seniors do the entire amount. Superpups, Pups and Gups need to supply a counter (usually a friend or a parent) who sits in the stands and keeps track of the laps swum. After the Swim-a-Thon is complete, participants collect their pledges and turn the money in by the due date (Monday, October 20th). Prizes are awarded to all who participate and top fundraisers will receive a special awards package.
This year the Swim-a-Thon will be held on Sunday, October 5th from 4 to 6 pm. For more information, click here to download the 2014 Swim-a-Thon information form.