By USA Swimming | Tuesday, October 1, 2019
The start of the 2019-2020 season featured many community appearances by National Team members. Whether it was in the water, at a convention or with a classroom full of kids, these swimmers brought smiles and joy with them wherever they went.
August 13-15: Open Water Select Camp // Hannah Moore
The future stars of American open water swimming were paid a visit by 2019 FINA Open Water World Championships medalist, Hannah Moore, while they attended the Open Water Select Camp. The six-day camp took place in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., and featured 25 of the top young open water swimmers in the nation. Camp attendees went on to swim at the UANA Junior Open Water Championships, which took place in Pleasant Prairie’s Lake Andrea.
August 15: Brenner Children’s Hospital visit // Kathleen Baker
Following her appearance in South Korea at the 2019 FINA World Championships, Baker took time to visit the Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Baker, a native of Winston-Salem, was able to speak to kids at the Brenner Children’s Hospital in her hometown. The hospital provides care to children from birth to age 18 and is widely regarded as one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation.
August 24: Swim York City // Justin Ress
2019 World University Games medalist Justin Ress traveled to York, Pennsylvania to meet and host a swim clinic with the York YMCA Swimming athletes. In an Instagram post, Ress wrote: “I don't know if the kids or the student athletes at Howard U know this, but as many times as they thanked me for coming, I felt the need to thank them for giving me the opportunity to speak and work with them. I have never been so honored.”
August 24-25: Swim Across America – Denver // Haley Anderson, Ashley Twichell
Attendees at the Swim Across America open water swim in Denver were greeted by the two most decorated female open water swimmers in American history, Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell. After punching their tickets to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo just a month prior, the tandem attended the Swim Across America event to give support, autographs and encouragement to all who competed. The race helped contribute to the $80 million that Swim Across America has raised for cancer research and clinical trials.
August 24: Swim Across America – St. Louis // Ryan Held, Mallory Comerford
Also making an appearance at a Swim Across America event was the National Team duo of Ryan Held and Mallory Comerford. After successful summers that included a U.S. Open record in the 100m freestyle for Held and a two-medal outing at the 2019 FINA World Championships for Comerford, the two traveled to St. Louis, Mo., to show their support at the cancer-fundraising event. They also stopped by the Siteman Cancer Center to share smiles, along with Held’s 2016 Olympic and Comerford’s 2019 World Championships gold medals, with local cancer patients.
August 30 – Sept. 2: Youth Performance Camp // Kelsi Dahlia, Chase Kalisz, Nathan Adrian
A group of talented young swimmers journeyed to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the chance to train at the Olympic Training Center. While training like Olympians, these aspiring swimmers were greeted by a trio of Olympic medalists, as Kelsi Dahlia, Chase Kalisz and Nathan Adrian swung by the pool to give tips and lessons to all attendees. Out of the pool, camp attendees were joined by their swimming icons for a hike in Colorado Springs.
Sept. 3: Washington Nationals first pitch // Jack Conger
After representing the red, white and blue at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jack Conger recently represented the Washington Nationals’ red, white and blue at their September 3 matchup with the New York Mets. Conger, who grew up 30 minutes north of Washington D.C. in the town of Rockville, Md., watched his hometown team come out on top in a high-scoring game, beating the New York Mets 11-10.
Sept. 9: Harper for Kids // Will Licon
U.S. National Team member Will Licon spoke words of wisdom via live stream to multiple classrooms in collaboration with Harper for Kids. Established in 2008, Harper for Kids is a character-education program that teaches youth about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. After earning two gold medals at August’s Pan American Games, Licon was able to give first-hand advice to the young students on the importance of hard work and dedication.
Sept. 13: Maine Swimming // Jacob Pebley
By way of the 2018 Golden Goggles silent auction, Maine Swimming won a visit by U.S. National Team member Jacob Pebley during its Sept. 13 clinic at the YMCA in Bath, Maine. Pebley shared training insight and tools that helped him to an appearance at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Along with the impact Pebley left in the pool, he took time for autographs, photos and a Q&A session with the young swimmers.
Sept. 13: Eagle Academy School // Katie Meili
2016 Olympic gold medalist Katie Meili traveled to Washington D.C. to help instruct a learn-to-swim clinic at Eagle Academy School. According to Washington D.C.’s NBC Channel 4, more than 90 percent of the Eagle Academy students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, making swim lessons a difficult task for most families. Meili showed kids some of the fundamentals of swimming, and let the students try on her medals from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Sept. 13: USA Swimming Foundation Luncheon // Elizabeth Beisel, Chase Kalisz, Rowdy Gaines
At last month’s United States Aquatic Sports Convention, the USA Swimming Foundation hosted its annual luncheon with ambassadors Elizabeth Beisel, Chase Kalisz and Rowdy Gaines. The trio mingled with attendees, but also took time to speak about the USA Swimming Foundation and its drowning-prevention efforts.
Sept. 11 – 15: Congressional Black Caucus // Cullen Jones
Olympian Cullen Jones traveled to Washington D.C. to represent Sigma Ghamma Rho at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. The event features thought leaders, legislators, influencers and celebrities who talk on issues impacting African Americans and the global black community. Jones shared the importance of Sigma Gamma Rho and the sorority’s efforts to increase diversity in swimming, and let those in attendance try on his 2012 and 2008 Olympic medals.
Sept. 16: Rose Bowl Aquatics // Jacob Pebley
After raising nearly $130,000 by way of hosting a Swim-a-Thon, Rose Bowl Aquatics of Pasadena, California won the Swim-a-Thon grand prize drawing, earning a visit from Jacob Pebley. The 2016 Olympian visited the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center to give tips, autographs and pictures to the young swimmers for their Swim-a-Thon efforts. “The visit to Rose Bowl was great," said Pebley. "I got to meet a lot of great kids – older kids, younger kids – and got the chance to hear their questions. I was expecting the younger kids to ask me lighter questions, but they were the ones asking me the deep ones!"
Sept. 21 & 23: NCSA Camp // Zach Apple, Jack Saunderson
The National Team duo of Zach Apple and Jack Saunderson traveled to Colorado Springs to speak to and swim with the invitees of the NCSA all-star camp. In an Instagram post, Saunderson wrote, “We have a lot of young potential in the coming years. Loved meeting everyone and finally visiting the Olympic Training Center.”
Sept. 24: Harper for Kids // Kathleen Baker
Harper for Kids once again hosted a live stream conference with elementary classrooms. U.S. National Team member Kathleen Baker joined the live stream. After Baker’s appearance, Harper for Kids has now had three current or former National Team members (Baker, Will Licon and Katie Meili) speak about the pyramid of success to young students across the country within the past five months.
Sept. 28: Indiana Breaststroke Clinic // Lilly King, Annie Lazor
Two of the sport’s most successful female breaststrokers, Lilly King and Annie Lazor, made guest appearances at the Indiana Breaststroke Clinic. The event was hosted by Indiana University, where King became the winningest breaststroker in NCAA history and Lazor competed as a post-grad swimmer.