Swimmers Blog from Junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii


By Chelsea Chenault

Aug. 25, 2012 - Day 2 Prelims and Finals

Day two of competition and the US is still going strong! The sun came back out for prelims this morning and our team area moved to the bleachers on the cement so we weren't walking on mud. The timing system had a bit of a malfunction, but that didn't stop anyone. Usually day two of meets are a little slow, but the momentum from last nights finals kept everyone focused. After a quick rest at the hotel the we were back at the pool and ready for another finals session. Three records, four golds, three silvers, and a bronze later the finals were completed and we left the pool with another strong session under our belt. 

Aug. 24, 2012 - Day 1 Prelims and Finals

Last night during the team meeting we became inspired. We received a letter from gold medalist Missy Franklin, and watched some clips of relays from the Olympics. It made everyone super excited for the meet. Today we marched proudly onto the pool-deck with a confidence that no one could knock down. Everyone is fired up. The U.S. is top seed in every event going into finals tonight. It's crazy to see how well everyone swam in the prelims session and I can feel an even better finals session coming along for tonight!


As we drove to the pool clouds filled the sky. No one thought anything of it, but once we reached the pool it began to pour. The team continued through the normal finals routines and even preformed our bonsai cheer. Through out the finals session it poured and all teams stayed put under tents and canopies to stay dry, well all teams except the United States. Every U.S. athlete was standing out in the rain supporting their team mates. Despite being drenched from standing out in the rain for two hours we all walked onto the bus with smiles. All of us proud to represent the United States.


By Kylie Stewart

Aug. 24, 2012 - Day 1 Wrap-upKylie Stewart (medium) 

Team USA is on FIRE after the completion of day number one!

On Wednesday, we had a team meeting in the evening, and we watched some of the videos Russell had made. National Team member, Missy Franklin, wrote us an email wishing us luck at the meet! The inspirational meeting was a success and seemed to get us all fired up for today’s events.

Getting the meet off to a great start was Chelsea Chenault and Leah Smith, who both went 1:58 and made the top heat of the 200 free, while Cierra Runge made consolation final. All of them went best times in the prelims and are stoked for the finals. In finals Chelsea won a gold medal and Leah received a bronze. First two medals of the meet!

Men’s 200 meter freestyle was led by Peter Brumm, who broke through the 1:50 barrier for the first time. Following closely was Gunnar Bentz, while third place went to Chase Kalisz. In the final, Peter received the bronze medal and Bentz touched fifth.

In the Women’s 100 back, Olivia Smoliga was the top seed followed by Kylie Stewart. Kathleen Baker made the third spot and was placed into the consolation final. In finals, Smoliga and Stewart had a 1-2 finish. The team was cheering like crazy!

Men’s 100 meter backstroke was led by Jack Conger, followed close by Ty Stewart. Max Grodecki made it into the B final. In the final, Conger’s finish got him a gold medal, meet record, and Aaron Peirsol’s NAG record! Stewart finished in sixth place

Next was the Women’s 200 meter butterfly which was led by Megan Kingsley as the first seed, followed by Celina Li. Becca Mann, Courtney Weaver, and Dana Grindall all made it into the consolation final. Yeah USA! In finals, Celina had a great back half to receive the silver medal, and Kingsley received the bronze medal.

Men’s 200 fly was led by Corey Okubo and the fourth spot belonged to Justin Wright. In the consolation final were Ted Singley, Andrew Seliskar and Ty Stewart. Okubo and Wright finished second and third, respectively.

One of the final events of the evening was the Women’s 800 meter freestyle. Becca Mann touched first in the final, and Leah Smith’s time from prelims got her the gold medal and meet record, with Becca receiving silver. Rachel Zilinskas got fourth place, taking a second of her time from trials.

Men’s 1500 meter freestyle was the final event of the evening and both Americans were in the final heat. Janardan got fifth place, with Pinion touching seventh. David Heron and Brian Dragonosky got 10th and 11th respectively.

It was a fantastic first day of Junior Pan Pacs. All the good swims were infectious, and all of the team members who haven’t swum yet are SO pumped up. We rounded off the day with twelve medals!


Way to go USA!


By Annie Lazor

August 23, 2012Annie Lazor (medium)

Hey everyone!


We just wrapped up Thursday's prelims and most everyone swam fantastic!! We had countless best times, tons of great places tonight, and everyone is fired up for finals. It all started with our team meeting last night. We watched a few videos about the Olympics, the importance of relays, and what it truly means to be a team on the international level. The videos were so inspirational and made me feel so proud to be a part of Team USA. After we came together through last night's meeting, I could tell everyone was ready to go. 


I didn't swim today, but it was a pleasure to be able to go crazy for all my teammates on the pool deck. The women in the 200 free got us fired up, with Chelsea Chenault and Leah Smith swimming lifetime bests and placing 1st and 2nd for tonight's finals! After the first event, I knew we were about to do great things at this meet.


It continued through the men's 200 free, where Peter Brumm broke 1:50 and took the top seed. Olivia Smoliga and Kylie Stewart swam solid prelims races and have the top two spots in the 100 backstroke, and Jack Conger kept the team rolling with a good swim to match Olivia's top seed in the backstroke. Corey Okubo and Megan Kingsley both swam lifetime bests in the 200 fly to claim the #1 seat for tonight's races.


Watching everyone swim fast is contagious. It gets everyone fired up and they wanna swim fast but not only for themselves, but for their team and for their country! Wearing the stars and stripes on my cap means the world to me, and knowing all my teammates have worked as hard as I have to get here makes it all the better. I can't wait to see what is in store for tonight's races, and for the next few days of the meet.


Let's go USA!!


Annie Lazor


By Annie ZHU

August 22, 2012Annie Zhu (medium)

Aloha from Hawaii! The competition is a day away and we are so incredibly excited for the races to begin. The team has been brimming with excitement since we arrived three days ago and the energy is contagious. As the excitement grows, the joy and camaraderie of the team resonates throughout each practice. We are more ready than ever and we’re all looking forward to swimming our best.

As we wait for the races to begin, we took this time to explore our beautiful surroundings. The team went out for a swim in the clear ocean water with our amazing athlete representatives, Aaron Peirsol and Madison Kennedy. We swam out to the lagoon and saw stunning aquatic life. We swam along the coral, and saw a school of exotic fish, sea turtles and baby sharks! The Hawaiian breeze smells of hibiscus and tranquility. It’s no wonder people call this paradise.

In addition, we took this time to get to know our teammates. The girls bonded over a fun nail painting party. We painted our nails in red, white and blue to represent the USA. The party also helped us loosen our nerves before the race; it reminded us that we are here to have fun too. Yesterday, the team went down to the beach and watched the sunset. The experience was something that I will never forget. It was beautiful and so surreal that it felt like this came straight out of a travel brochure.

As a member of the team and as the captain of the girl’s team, I am honored and thankful to have such an amazing and supportive staff. The coaches, Aaron, and Madison have given us invaluable tips and guidance on preparing for the race and representing Team USA. It has been a great few days leading up and we are ready to show everyone everything we’ve got. Good luck Team USA and let’s bring home the gold!!!!

Team Captain,
Annie Zhu


By Matt Ellis

August 22, 2012Matt Ellis (medium)

It's the day before the meet. This is it. Everyone has their game faces on. The team is settled, relaxed, ready to pounce. It's a beautiful thing to see the team coming together as one. The motivation level is beyond imagination, ready to represent the greatest country in the world.


Looking out over the sunset with the team last night was a special moment, being in Hawaii is incredible on its own, but experiencing this atmosphere with the team is something beyond words. I feel honored to be with this group, and honored to know what it means to represent the United States of America. This team is ready to go, everyone looks great in the water. It’s time to have fun, kick butt, and bring in the gold.


Go USA! 


Team Captain,
Matt Ellis


By Chase Kalisz

August 22, 2012Chase Kalisz (medium)

The meet starts tomorrow and we're more ready than we've ever been. We've been practicing twice a day and bringing down the yardage with every practice. The hotel is unbelievable, and we couldn't ask for better service. We are staying with all the other countries that are competing in the meet, and we're getting along great.

We have been given opportunities that we never knew were possible. Tuesday, instead of going to the pool, mentors Aaron Peirsol and Madison Kennedy led us in an open water swim just outside the lagoon at our hotel. We were inches away from fish, coral reefs, turtles and even seals! It was an incredible experience, and we have learned a lot from our mentors. They have taught us how to prepare for a big meet, in and out of the water.

We are so fortunate to have them with us. As a team, we all watched the sun set on the beach, and it was a real team bonding experience none of us will ever forget. The team is closely knit together and we're ready to be the most energetic and loudest team at the meet!


Team Captain,
Chase Kalisz