Aquazot Swimmers are Fantastic at North American Challenge Cup!!!

Aquazot Swimmers are Fantastic at North American Challenge Cup!!!

Eighty Southern California Swimming athletes and a staff of eighteen traveled to Edmonton, Canada, on Tuesday, July 31, to compete in the North American Challenge Cup against Canada, Mexico, Pacific Swimming and Pacific Northwest Swimming.

Aquazot Swim Club was represented by eight athletes:  11/12’s: Matthew Lee, Eva Merrell, 13/14’s: Tim Hanson, Justin Hanson, 15/16’s: Karli Thuen, Ken Takahashi, Judd Howard and Chris Taber.

These eight athletes turned in outstanding performances over the three day competition, totaling 29 medals for the USA, including 15 gold medals!

Highlighting the Aquazot Swim Club’s performances were 12 year old’s Eva Merrell and Matthew Lee.  These two young swimmers finished the competition with identical medal totals: 6 gold and 2 silver medals each!

Eva Merrell took the sprint freestyle events to new heights for Southern California 11&12 year olds.   In the 100 free, Eva won her 4th gold medal of the meet in a lifetime best time of 58.24.  This time broke the existing SCS record of 58.25 set by Carly Geehr in 1997, three years before Eva was born!  In the 50 free, Eva had already broken the SCS record last month at Sectionals, posting a 27.24, breaking the 1998 record of 27.31 held by Courtney Cashion.  At this meet, Eva sprinted to her 6th gold medal in time of 26.94.  This swim marks the first time a Southern California female has broken the 27 second barrier prior to becoming a teenager. 

Matthew Lee had an impressive meet, as he dominated the free and medley events.  He finished first in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles, and just narrowly missed taking first in the 400 free as well.  His 200 IM was also excellent, as he used his strong 2nd half of the race to move into the lead and finish with a personal best 2:23.11.

Justin Hanson picked up 2 golds for the USA, in the 400 IM, and the 200 fly.

Karli Thuen also was golden in the 400 IM, winning by nearly three seconds.

Chris Taber competed well in his specialty event, the 200 fly.  His bronze medal time of 2:08.08 was solid, and he is still preparing for the USA junior national championships held in Indianapolis, Indiana later this month.

Judd Howard keeps improving in the breaststrokes, and made drops in both breast events to win 2 bronze medals for the USA.  In the 200 breast, Judd’s time of 2:24.63 was a half second drop, and just .14 off the junior national time standard.  In the 100 breast, Judd broke the 1:08 barrier for the first time with a 1:07.93.

Tim Hanson, only 13 years old, and Ken Takahashi, 15, were on the young side of each of their age groups at this meet.  Just making the SCS team was a big accomplishment, and they represented well, with Tim grabbing a bronze medal in the 1500 free, and a 4th place finish in the 400 IM.  Ken finished just out of the medals in 4th place in both the 400 IM, and the 400 free.  He will be looking to finish his summer swim season at the USA Junior National Championships later this month.

Congratulations to all the Aquazot swimmers for such great performances and for representing the USA in superb fashion against the best young swimmers in North America!


Aquazot Swim Club medalists:

Eva Merrell:         6 golds: 100 back, 400 free relay, 100 free, 200 back, 200 free relay, 50 free

                              2 silver: 100 fly, 400 medley relay

Matthew Lee:      6 golds: 200 free, 400 free relay, 100 free, 200 free relay, 50 free, 200 IM

                              2 silvers: 400 free, 400 medley relay

Justin Hanson:   2 golds: 400 IM, 200 fly

                              2 silver: 200 IM, 400 medley relay

                              2 bronze: 100 fly, 800 free relay

Tim Hanson:       1 bronze: 1500 free

Karli Thuen:        1 gold: 400 IM

                              1 silver: 800 free relay

                              1 bronze: 400 free

Judd Howard:     2 bronze: 100 breast, 200 breast

Chris Taber:        1 bronze: 200 fly