ACAC On Fire at Southeastern Championships

Alicia Franklin

ACAC On Fire at Southeastern Championships


February 24-26, Atomic City Aquatic Club blazed to the finish line at the 2023 SE Southeastern SC Championship in Huntsville, Alabama! 9 swimmers traveled to the meet and competed in their best events, showing amazing perseverance and positivity.  2 swimmers walked away with team records!

Dorian Volcansek, Jessi Schaefer, Emmy Zimmer, and Olivia Foy-McDaniel


To go to Southeasterns, the swimmers had to achieve intense qualifying times or bonus cut times during the previous year for the event.  Bonus cut times are very slightly slower times that come into play if the athlete has a qualifying time in another event.  With 1 qualifying time, they can swim 2 additional events with bonus qualifying times.  At Southeasterns, a swimmer was allowed to compete in a total of 6 events across the entire weekend.


Coach Sarah Corcoran had the following to say about each of the athletes. 


Connor O’Neil turned 15 at the end of January.  As a new swimmer in the 15 & older age group, he “surprised himself by qualifying for this championship only one week prior, dropped in for a strong mile swim on Sunday and if his training efforts are any indication  - this is only the beginning for this rising star.” 


Colin Sudderth (16) competed in 4 events (50 Fly and the 50, 100, and 200 Breast).  “He showed off his mega improvements this season! He implemented fun and exciting new race strategies in breaststroke.  Keep an eye on that one, he is gonna continue to surprise us all with his strong efforts and increasing awareness.”


Olivia Foy-McDaniel (13) competed in 6 events (100, 200, and 500 Free and 50, 100, and 200 Back).  In the 200 Back, Olivia made finals and placed 8th overall in the event.  “She made huge progress in her mental game at this meet. Being a true competitor is something we get to practice at meets! Some days it is all best times and other days it is about learning how to prepare our mindset for the next level of achievement. Her leadership is inspiring!”


Ben Martin (10) competed in 4 events (50 fly and the 50, 100, and 200 Free).  Ben achieved a best time in his 50 Free and “pushed himself hard in the 200 free, learning some important strategies and how to improve in longer races.”  He placed 4th in the 200 Free event.  


All three of the Volcansek siblings qualified for the meet!  These three are known for their positive attitudes and encouraging spirits in supporting their teammates. Sophie (10) competed in 5 events (50 Fly, 100 Free, 100 IM, and 50 and 100 Back).  Sophie placed 1st in her 100 Back with a time of 1:13.96! “Her favorite race and it shows!”


Mateo Volcansek (10) raced in 6 events (50 and 100 Fly, 50 and 100 Back, 100 Free, and 100 IM).  “He improved his times across the board and finished top 8 in all of his events!” 


Dorian Volcansek (12) also raced in 6 events (50 and 100 Fly, 50 and 100 Back, and 50 and 100 Free).  “He really used his strong kick and aggressive turns to his advantage in every race, especially his backstrokes and 100 free!... He swam an awesome 50 back and finished 1st in finals. Later in the meet, he swam the 100 back at 1:02, finishing 3rd, a 5 second improvement from his entry time.”  Dorian placed in the top 5 in all of his events and finished 3rd overall for high points in the 11-12 boys.


Emmy Zimmer (12) raced in 6 events (50 and 100 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Breast, 100 Back, and 100 IM).  Emmy “swam a grueling Sunday night line-up with 3 races in less than an hour! She is a tough competitor and showed up and swam as hard as she could in every race!”  With a time of 26.01 seconds, Emmy took first in the 50 Free and broke the team record held for 18 years by J. Darby!  


Finally, we have Jessi Schaefer (12).  She too raced in 6 events (50 and 100 Fly, 100 Back, 200 IM, 200 and 500 Free).  “Jessi made winning look easy in her 200 free and 500 free. Yet, Jessi worked extra hard to show off her underwater skills at this meet! Her mental toughness showed through when she struggled to finish the 100 fly the way she wanted. She watched a video of that race, made important changes to her 50 fly strategy, and continued to race like a BOSS!”  


Jessi took 1st in the 200 free, 500 free, and 100 back.  The backstroke event was an especially exciting event as Jessi and Emmy Zimmer went head to head in the finals for this event.  The two of them were a full 1.5 seconds ahead of the rest of the field as they raced to the finish line.  Both girls broke the former team record of 1:01.78 held by Olivia Foy-McDaniel from last year.  Jessi managed to edge out Emmy and take the lead and the new team record by 0.01 second with a time of 1:01.72!  Jessi took 2nd in the overall high-point ranks!


The team is still in full championship preparation mode as they prepare for sectionals in North Carolina over the next two weeks.  ESSZ Senior Sectionals will be held in Raleigh, NC March 9-12 and Age Group Championship will be held in Cary, NC March 16-19. Go ACAC!


Connor O’Neil

Colin Sudderth

Olivia Foy-McDaniel

Ben Martin

Dorian (back), Mateo, and Sophie Volcansek

Emmy Zimmer

Jessi Schaefer

Note:  The portrait shots above are courtesy of Tara Kneiser