By Sharon Robb
CALI, Colombia, November 30, 2021–Patrick Groters of Aruba won his second gold medal and broke his second meet record at the Junior Pan American Games Tuesday at Hernando Botero O’Byrne Swimming Pool.
On the fifth and final night of the inaugural competition, Groters, 22, won the 200-meter individual medley with an exciting finish in 2:02.09, holding off Guatemala’s Erick Gordillo in 2:02.47.
Groters broke his second Junior Pan American Games record in morning prelims in 2:03.93 and came back to break it again in finals in 2:02.09.
The former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swim Club swimmer, now at University of South Carolina, finished with two gold medals, two meet records, two national records, one silver medal and three World Championship qualifying times.
Nicole Frank, 17, of Uruguay and Azura Florida Aquatics, won her first gold medal of the meet in the 200-meter individual medley. She won in a best time 2:17.46, a drop of 0.78. She was second fastest in morning prelims in 2:21.61.
Brazil swept the men’s and women’s team titles.
Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca, hosted the first-ever edition of the Junior Pan American Games.
It was 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 participated along with 4,806 athletes from 41 countries and territories affiliated with Panam Sports in 39 sports. The meet was 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 competed in other sports. Brazil (25), Colombia (25), and Mexico (26) had 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.
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Karen Durango Restrepo, Colombia 17:18.34, 2. Maite Gonzalez Rodriguez, Cuba 17:35.28, 3. Michelle Jativa, Ecuador 17:45.32.
200-meter individual medley: 1. Nicole Frank, Uruguay 2:17.46, 2. Maria Selene Alborzen, Argentina 2:18.99, 3. Fernando De Groeij, Brazil 2:19.32.
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Gerald Hernandez Huerta, Nicaragua 16:44.64, 2. Juan Jose Bolanos, Costa Rica 16:50.44, 3. Miguel Siwady, Honduras 16:52.42.
200-meter individual medley: 1. Patrick Groters, Aruba 2:02.09, 2. Erick Gordillo, Guatemala 2:02.47, 3. Matheo Mateos, Paraguay 2:04.53.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org