Twenty-six year-old Kurt Blohm is no stranger to dominant meet weekends.
Blohm, who finished all four of his individual races this weekend in first place, set Sport Fair Winter Classic Invitational Meet records in the 50 yard backstroke (23.64) and the 100 backstroke (51.32).
Blohm is one of three talented swimmers in Snow Swimming’s senior age group. Blohm, along with teammates Matthew Haupt and Matt Fedderly, are all over 23 years old and all swam in this weekend’s meet which was held at George Mason’s Aquatic and Fitness Center and sponsored by Potomac Valley Swimming and the Potomac Marlins.
Snow Swimming’s head coach Mike Pliuskaitis has big goals in mind for the group.
“I think all of them are going to go to the 2012 Olympic Trials,” Pliuskaitis said. “They’d like to make the meet and compete. And I believe that they will.”
Pliuskaitis noted that Blohm’s leadership-by-example approach has positively impacted his younger swimmers.
Matthew Haupt, 29, battled illness for weeks leading up to the meet, but managed second place finishes in the 100 butterfly (50.07) and 200 butterfly (1:51.18).
“It’s tough for my coach or any coach to adapt to someone of my age,” said Haupt, who attended Penn State. “He can’t control me being sick, so I think if I wasn’t sick, it would be a totally different performance.”
Pliuskaitis was understanding when asked about Haupt’s performance.
“He’s been a real stud trying to get through and race his races hard,” Pliuskaitis said.
Matt Fedderly, 23, had a successful race weekend as well. He had top five finishes in five of six races, including wins in the 50 breaststroke (26.63), 100 breaststroke (57.67) and 200 breaststroke (2:05.53).
Blohm, Haupt and Fedderly combined for 12 top five finishes in their 14 races.
And, according to Blohm, we may not have seen his best this weekend.
“I think I need to go faster,” said Blohm, who attended Hope College. “I don’t now if I really hit my taper like I should have.”
The Sport Fair Winter Classic featured many other notable performers.
Ten-year-old Jacquee Clabeaux (York Swim Club) had wins in the 50 backstroke (33.05), 100 individual medley (1:11.12), 50 freestyle (28.14), 100 freestyle (1:03.39) and 50 breaststroke (35.52). She set a meet record in the 50 free and 50 breastsroke, and missed the IM meet record by a mere .04 seconds. With second and fourth place finishes to round out her weekend, Clabeaux was dominant.
Thirteen-year-old Laura Garcia (All Star Aquatics) finished first in the 100 yard butterfly (59.87), 200 \ backstroke (2:09.71) and the 200 butterfly (2:13.11). She teamed up with Hannah Lindsey to anchor the All Star Aquatics girls team.
Alex Montes de Oca, a 14-year-old from the Battlefield Area Star Swimmers (BASS) won six events and set meet records in the 100 butterfly (53.23) and the 200 butterfly (2:01.16).
Loyola Blakefield Aquatic’s Tanja Kylliainen, 16, played a major part in her team’s first place finish. She won the 100 butterfly (56.59), 400 IM (4:19.16), 200 butterfly (2:01.25), setting meet records in all three events. In addition, she also won the 500 freestyle (5:00.01) and 50 butterfly (26.89).
In all, 33 meet records were set.
“From a coaches perspective, the meet gets faster every year,” said Bill Marlin, Potomac Marlins head coach and meet manager. “Everybody is swimming fast, so it gets everybody excited to want to come out and do the meet.”
Sixteen-year-old Potomac Marlins swimmer Anna Johannes set American Paralympic Records in the 200 free (2:10.83/S-9 Classification), 100 free (1:01.66/S-9 Classification), 100 breaststroke (1:19.65/S-8 Classification) and the 50 breaststroke (37.83/S-8 Classification).
Loyola Blakefield Aquatic won the meet with a total team score of 3,796.5 points. Snow Swimming (2,693) and York Swim Club (2,570.5) came in second and third place.
Potomac Valley Swimming’s next event is scheduled for Jan. 2-3, 2010. The PVS January Distance Meet will be held at the Lee District Recreation Center.