By Sharon Robb
CALI, Colombia, November 27, 2021–Patrick Groters of Aruba made history at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games Saturday at Hernando Botero O’Byrne Swimming Pool.
Groters, 22, broke the first Pan American junior record in the 200-meter backstroke prelims in 2:03.55, the fastest morning qualifier. He came back at night to break it again and win the event in a best time 2:01.78, a 0.54 drop.
Groters, now at University of South Carolina, swam at NSU University School and Pine Crest Swim Club. He is a member of Aruba’s national team and 2024 Olympic hopeful. He has the 100 backstroke, 400 IM and 200 IM left to swim.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Gaby Banks, 18, of Florida State who represents Jamaica internationally, was 22nd in 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:13.26, dropping 0.04.
Uruguay’s Nicole Frank, 17, who trains with Azura Florida Aquatics, was seventh in the 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:05.90, a 0.57 drop. She qualified seventh in 2:06.77.
In the men’s 200 freestyle, Joaquin Vargas of Peru was fifth fastest qualifier in 1:53.92; Gabriel Araya of Chile was seventh fastest in 1:54.82; and Miami’s Brandon Vives of the Dominican Republic was 18th in 200 freestyle in 1:58.02. Vargas came back in finals to place fourth in 1:50.86; Araya finished seventh in 1:53.64; and Vives was 12th in 1:56.64. Vives was also 26th in the 100 butterfly in 59.21.
Maria Munoz, 22, of Peru and Azura, was 13th in the 100 butterfly prelims in 1:03.95 and 12th in finals in 1:03.42.
Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca, is hosting the first-ever edition of the Junior Pan American Games.
It is a key event in the lead-up to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and Paris 2024 Olympics, allowing up-and-coming athletes a new level of competition they didn’t have in past years.
Approximately 3,000 volunteers, 1,400 technical officials and 1,142 other officials are participating along with 4,806 athletes from 41 countries and territories affiliated with Panam Sports in 39 sports. The meet is for ages up to 22.
Neither the U.S. or Canada, the region’s most successful countries, sent swim teams to the event although they are competing in other sports. Brazil (25), Colombia (25), and Mexico (26) have the largest delegations of swimmers.
The Games were initially scheduled to begin on June 5 but were postponed to September 9 to 19. It was further delayed because of COVID-19 before moving to late November and early December.
- Ana Carolina Vieira, Brazil 2:02.15, 2. Maria Yegres Cottin, Venezuela 2:02.16, 3. Karen Durango Restrepo, Colombia 2:03.09.
- Clarissa Maria Rodrigues, Brazil 1:00.19, 2. Luana Alonso, Paraguay 1:00.30, 3. Valentina Becerra, Colombia 1:00.82.
- Athena Meneses Kovacs, Mexico 2:15.64, 2. Jimena Leguizamon Leal, Colombia 2:16.85, 3. Fernando De Goeji, Brazil 2:17.94.
- Breno Martins Correia, Brazil 1:47.46, 2. Juan Manuel Morales Restrepo, Colombia 1:49.70, 3. Santi Corredor, Colombia 1:49.80.
- Kayky Marquart Mota, Brazil 52.81, 2. Matheus Ferreira De Moraes Gonche, Brazil 52.83, 3. Jorge Eliezer Otaiza Hernandez, Venezuela 53.76.
- Patrick Groters, Aruba 2:01.78, 2. Diego Salgado, Mexico 2:02.29, 3. Erick Oswaldo Gordillo Guzman, Guatemala 2:03.00.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org