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Eli Fouts makes statement at MCSL all-stars; Vissering breaks Friedland’s record in breast

By Bryan Flaherty

About 30 minutes after breaking a record held by one of the fastest swimmers every produced by the league, Eli Fouts stepped onto the blocks, dove in the water and re-set his own league mark in a second event with a performance that left coaches on deck at the Rockville Swim Center shaking their heads and smiling – happy for the swimmer and amazed at the swims.

Fouts, hanging loosely on the lane line while he exchanged handshakes with his competitors, smiled too. Fouts has a lot to be happy with after three weeks of fast swimming that concluded Sunday at Rockville Swim Center with his third and fourth league record-breaking swims of the summer.

Eli Fouts, 14, above swimming backstroke, broke Jack Conger's record in the event by over half a second. (Photo by Bryan Flaherty)

The 14-year-old Manchester Farms swimmer began his meet by blazing through the league record in the 13-14 boys’ 50-meter backstroke with a time of 27.11 seconds. Fouts spun through the water with speed, strength and precision that beguiles his age.

The swim slashed over half a second off the previous record, set by three-time All-Met Swimmer of the Year Jack Conger in 2009. If Fouts can find the sort of focus Conger did as a rising freshman, Maryland swim fans are in for another great four years.

“It feels really good [to break Conger's record],” said Fouts, who admitted he was nervous about taking on a record held by Conger before the race. “He’s really fast, and he went to Olympic Trials; it’s a pretty good feeling.”

Complete results

He followed up his early performance by breaking the record in the 50 breaststroke that he set two weeks earlier during Manchester Farms’ final dual meet. In the Dolphins meet at Germantown, Fouts became the first 14 and under in the area to break the 31-second barrier with a time of 30.93 – a milestone never reached by Carsten Vissering or Eric Friedland before Fouts. 

But Fouts, who trains with RMSC year-round, saw his time eclipsed by a swimmer in the Northern Virginia Swim League a week after his record-breaking swim, supplying him new motivation entering Sunday’s event despite already possessing the record. Fouts blasted a 30.79, a full 2.1 seconds faster than second-place to win the race and reclaim the area’s top spot.

“It felt not as stressful. Backstroke was my stressful [event],” Fouts said. “I already had the record in breaststroke and I just wanted to go faster.”

Before this weekend, Fouts had never won an all-star event. His highest finish came in 2012 when he finished nearly a second behind Rockville’s Sanjay Wijeskera in the 11-12 boys’ 50 backstroke event. Wijesekera touched third on Sunday – 2.04 seconds behind Fouts.

A rising Quince Orchard freshman, Fouts also set his age group’s 100 individual medley record at last week’s divisionals with a time of 1:00.89, which gives him three of five 13-14 boys’ league records and should make his future high school teammates very excited.

“I’m pumped to get to QO,” Fouts said. “I already know the coach because he was one of my teachers in sixth grade. He’s waiting for me to come, and hopefully I can do my best for the team.”

His best in the 100-yard breaststroke (59.69), would have won the event at the MCPS Division II championship last year and placed eighth at Metros and makes him one of the top incoming freshman in the county.

David Fitch, 10, the new 9-10 boys' 50-meter breaststroke record holder poses with Carsten Vissering. (Photo by Lucy Fitch)

If he can keep improving, he is likely to step onto the blocks next to Carsten Vissering, a rising Georgetown Prep senior, who is the reigning Metros champion in breaststroke and was also making waves at all-stars Sunday morning.

Vissering, 17, took down the record in the 15-18 boys’ 100-meter breaststroke with a blistering time of 1:00.74. 

That time lowered the mark set in 2008 by Tilden Woods’ Eric Friedland, a former NCAA champion.

“I remember watching Friedland post that time at this pool and I thought, ’That will never be broken’,” said Little Falls Coach Jason Blanken, who holds the league’s third oldest record, set in 1998. “Vissering is just on a different level than everyone else.”

Vissering went out in a 28.7-second split and gutted out the final two laps to set the record, despite a brutal few months in the pool training with Nation’s Capital Swim Club’s elite Georgetown Prep practice group.

“It’s fun getting the record; it’s a really important meet for me since I think it might be my last MCSLs and I wanted to leave something behind before I finished my career,” Vissering said. “It’s a little sad [knowing I might not be back] but it was exciting to get that record.”

Carsten Vissering, 17, takes off at the start of the boys'€™ 100-meter breaststroke. Vissering broke Eric Friedland's 2008 record in the event. (Photo by Bryan Flaherty)

Vissering is likely to miss next year’s all-star meet and much, if not all, of the dual meet season as he heads off to the University of Southern California where he has already committed to swim.

“I had good results at summer juniors last year and this meet kind of indicates how I do at my taper meet,” Vissering said. “I think I was a 1:02 last year at this [meet], so to get a double-oh here has me pretty pumped.”

Carsten Vissering, 17, swims to a new league record in the 15-18 boys'€™ 100-meter breaststroke. (Photo by Bryan Flaherty)

Vissering is the ninth-ranked breaststroker in the country heading into U.S. Nationals, which begin Aug. 3 in Irvine, Calif.

There he’ll attempt to place in the top two and earn himself a spot on the national team delegation heading to Australia for the Pan Pacific Championships in late August and next year’s FINA world championships in Kazan Russia.

He’ll need a swim like he had on Sunday if he has any chance of earning a national team berth.

Replicating his performance at Rockville in the long-course pool may prove difficult without the assistance of two extra walls, however. If he falls short of the podium, he’ll likely be headed to Honolulu with the junior national team to compete at Junior Pan Pacs, which has historically been a proving ground for future Olympians.

Vissering also finished third in the 50 butterfly (26.68) behind Palisades’ Grant Goddard (25.67) and Cedarbrook’s Johnny Mooers (26.05).

Goddard also won the 100 backstroke in 57.13. Mooers, who will swim for Boston College in the fall, picked up a second silver in the 100 IM behind Northwest Branch’s Michael Thomas, 59.22 to 59.30. Thomas is heading to UNC-Wilmington to swim next year.

Phoebe Bacon (right) shakes hands after setting the league record in the 11-12 girls' 50-meter butterfly. (Photo by Bryan Flaherty)

Phoebe Bacon of Tallyho also set two league records in the 11-12 age group. Entering the meet, Bacon had already set the girls’ record in the 50 backstroke in Week 5 with a time of 31.56 and was expected to challenge the records in the 50 butterfly and 100 IM at all-stars.

She did better than challenge the records.

Bacon shaved a collective .62 seconds off the old marks in the two events. In the second event of the morning, the 100 IM, Bacon cruised to victory in a time of 1:09.04 to break Poolesville’s Lauren James’s record of 1:09.45, set in 2009.

Later, Bacon added the butterfly record by registering a time of 30.20 that broke a 14-year-old record previously held by Laura Eull of Country Glen.

As an 11-year-old, Bacon has another year to continue lowering the records in all three events.

Behind Bacon waits a strong last of 9-10 girls. Giulia Baroldi, 10, set the league record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 29.58. She broke Morgan Ribar’s record of 30.12, set in 2000. In second, also breaking the record, was Jillian Berger of Little Falls, who touched in 29.93.

Baroldi also missed setting a second league record when she finished first in the 25 butterfly in 14.98 – .02 off.

David Fitch, 10, swimming freestyle at all-stars. He missed the record by .01 seconds. (Photo by Ginny Maycock)

David Fitch, 10, of Potomac provided the seventh record-breaking swim of the morning when he clipped .19 seconds off a 20-year-old record int he 9-10 boys’ 25 breaststroke. His time of 17.18 bested Justin Pratt of Old Farm’s record of 17.37, set in 1994.

Fitch also won the 50 freestyle in 29.59 and just missing the Timmy Ellett’s record in the event by a hundredth of a second.

Other big winners include: Samir Elkassem, 8, of Country Glen (25 free and 25 fly); Brady Ott, 14, of Stonegate (50 free and 50 fly); Celine Nugent, 14, of Tilden Woods (50 free and 100 IM); Brett Feyerick, 11, Tallyho (50 free and 50 back); Emily Wang, 14, of Upper County (50 back and 50 fly); and Anna Wei Li, 8, of Woodcliffe (25 breast and 25 fly).

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16 Responses to “Eli Fouts makes statement at MCSL all-stars; Vissering breaks Friedland’s record in breast”

  1. Local Swim Dad says:

    Nice article Bryan – thanks for your coverage this summer and congratulations to all the great swimmers across all the age groups who made this such an exciting meet to watch.

  2. Swim2btrim says:

    Wow, it seems MCSL and NVSL get all the swim coverage any way! Have we looked at the Prince Mont swim leauge were the Theresa Banks Tigersharks swim team has won now 4 straight Division A Championships! And Reach for the wall has not even mention that, or acknowledge the league or it’s swimmers! Bias reporting for what is perceived to be the better swim base (MC/NV). Yet the other leagues have kids that have broke league records, Metroed, won State Championships ETC. Try 50/50 reporting on all the leagues, or maybe your writers don’t want to travel that far! Even when they do report on the other leagues it’s normally a 5 to 10 line write up. We check this page to Goliath! Our Stone has been tossed!

    Signed David!

  3. Peter says:

    @Swim2btrim: I’m sure that the editorial department of this site has its hands full just reporting on what it CAN report — personally I think just about every article is authored by Bryan himself; and this is a Washington Post-branded site, and we know all about how the Grahams basically gutted out the editorial side before selling out to Bezos. So, maybe you need to direct your complaint to the current WaPo overlords. And besides, school sports coverage has never been a strong suit of WaPo anyway for whatever perverse reason.

    And by the way the trend of gutting out local sports coverage is not new; for example the Newark Star-Ledger had excellent school sports coverage back in the day and IMHO it’s a shadow of its former self.

    It’s common knowledge that any e-mail to Bezos directly gets action; e-mail him jeff@amazon.com if you want to see some change.

    personally I think Bryan does a great job given what resources he has on hand. Maybe we all as readers need to help him with contributing more about all those other leagues out there. (Or maybe NVSL and MCSL just need to Hoover up the rest of the teams to make things easier…)

  4. GA says:

    It’s likely they would take your time to volunteer and cover PML. Man, now I sound like a team rep!

  5. Swim2btrim says:

    Then maybe when you start a site like this you would have more informative writers in each juridiction to provide an insiteful report on all the youngsters in the area! I don’t care that this may be a one arm bandit. Let the pin flow with bias weekly reporting from all the leagues! Bryan get some help! it’s competitive in all aspects of life, and all the parents in the DMV want their kids reconized for their acheivements! Resouces? Get a life! A simple phone call to the league representives could establish front line contacts for all the information required!

  6. Jim says:

    We’re lucky the RFTW even exists, but your point is a valid one.

    Years ago, when I didn’t see any coverage of a PVS Zone Championship, I asked the Editor of RFTW at the time and he encouraged me to write something up myself. I did so and after some basic editing they published it. I’m pretty sure they are more than happy to publish any articles that you submit that are news worthy.

  7. stingray says:

    The MCSL All Star relays had 2 records broken on Saturday July 26: the Mixed 13-14 200 Freestyle relay record was broken by Tilden Woods, downing a record formerly held by Rockville.

    Then there was a relay race for the 200 15-18 boys medley to decide who would get/keep the MCSL record in 2014. A quartet of Rockville swimmers (Andrew Gibson, Harrison Gu, Anatol Lui, Karl Treichel) had lowered the record from 1:49.02 to 1:48.81 at Divisionals the week before. A different quartet of Rockville swimmers (John Jeang, Andrew Gibson, Harrison Gu, Anatol Lui) lowered this record to 1:48.02. Quince Orchard swimmers (Alvin Wang, Jeremy Lui, Parker Engel, Xavier Laracuente) also went under the newly established record with a 1:48.34. The race was close, very fast, and had alot of graduating seniors, and a couple of 18 year olds who came back to swim for their MCSL team after 1 year of college.

  8. PWSLSwimMom says:

    I think swim2btrim has a point… the only coverage of summer league swim that I have seen has been for NVSL and MCSL. There are a lot of other summer leagues where the swimmers are doing great things. I realize that the staff assigned to the article is slim. Instead of 5 articles on NVSL, it should be 5 articles on 5 different leagues. In the PWSL, Braemar Blasters just won the top division over Sudley who had been the defending champs for 24 years. What other team in any sport do you know has dominated a league for that long. And what a great accomplishment for the Braemar Blasters to set a goal to win the division when other teams didn’t even want to even have to compete in that division. Four or five years ago, Braemar wasn’t even close to the team Sudley was but they took the challenge because to be the best you need to compete against the best. Congratulations to Sudley and Dennis Miller on their run. It’s doubtful that their dominance will be matched anytime soon if ever. Even NVSL powerhouse Overlee fell from the top division for many years.

  9. Observer says:

    The Post doesn’t have the resources to cover 5 leagues, so they wisely hit the largest leagues so that they can attract the most eyeballs. MCSL has 91 teams and NVSL has 102 teams. The PWSL is a little league with 24 teams.

  10. ThomasTheTrain says:

    Actually….I like Jim’s idea. Why can’t all the parents/coaches/friends/volunteers/team reps/spectators/swim lovers across ALL the summer swim leagues who read RFTW…write for RFTW???? Why leave it up to just Bryan and Danielle alone?

    We all can submit articles (and pictures) about the meets we attend or the big events that are taking place during the summer, submit them to Bryan and he can add them to the site or take the best 3 stories from say the PWSL All-Star meet and cobble them together for one big story. We’ve all read his recaps, what you don’t think YOU can write a recap of what you saw?

    Look, this is a community blog page. We are a community of people who love swimming. If we have issues with who’s receiving coverage and who isn’t, then why can’t we ALL BAND TOGETHER and give each of our kids and teams and coaches the press they’ve earned.

    To quote John Belushi in Animal House: “Who’s with me?!?! Let’s go. C’mon!!”

  11. Tom says:

    Agree that it’d be nice for someone to cover PMSL, but does anyone else here find it ironic that the PMSL itself, on its own web site, doesn’t list its swimmers’ top times — and that to get those lists, you have to go to…reachforthewall.com?

    I’ll bet this web site would appreciate any help it could get in writing about PMSL, PWSL and country club leagues, but they can’t do everything and so choose to devote most of their sparse resources to the two biggest leagues with the fastest overall swimming. Sounds harsh, but it’s a business/resources decision.

  12. Jim says:

    Thanks for the support of concept of the swim community contributing its own editorial and media to RFTW. I’m guessing Brian may have headed to the beach, otherwise I think he would have chimed in here by now with his thoughts about this.

  13. Jim says:

    sorry ‘Bryan’

  14. Pwslswimmom says:

    An article by Braemar was submitted every week and has never been published.

  15. MDSwimMom says:

    PMSL may be smaller (40 teams) but has some outstanding swimmers like Morgan Hill, All Met 1st team and USA Swimming Nationals qualifier and Ben Lawless, All Met 2nd team and Nationals Qualifier. Geordie Enoch, also a Nationals qualifier, wasn’t considered for All Met because she attends McDonogh and Annie Hayburn is close to Junior Nationals times and attends St. Mary’s in Annapolis. I know of teams in PMSL that have tried to submit stories to RFTW in the past and have gotten the response back that the stories can be posted to team pages only and won’t be published as news items. This doesn’t exactly encourage reporters from summer teams in non-NVSL/MCSL leagues to submit stories.

  16. Peter says:

    I’d bet if you e-mail Bezos at jeff@amazon.com to let him know, then maybe the appropriate editorial resources could be done (after he drives all the publishing companies out of business first though)

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