Puerto Rico’s Morales Sweeps Backstroke Events; Peru Wins Combined Team Title On Final Day Of Panam Aquatics Age Group Swimming Championships

By Sharon Robb
BALMAIN COUVA, Trinidad & Tobago, June 5, 2022–Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico made it a clean sweep on the fourth and final day of the Panam Aquatics Age Group Swimming Championships Sunday at National Aquatic Centre.

Morales, 26, who trains with Azura Florida Aquatics and only Florida Gold Coast swimmer in the meet, won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.67, more than 3 seconds ahead of Peru’s Ricardo Willing.

Earlier in the meet, Morales also won the 200-meter backstroke by 7 seconds in 2:02.02 and 50-meter backstroke in 26.40.

“I felt confident going into my races, we put in a lot of training before this meet,” Morales said. “Even though I am not tapered for this meet because we have worlds coming up I am happy with my times.”

Ecuador’s Elvira Demera, 13, was a double winner on the final day in the 11-12 100-meter backstroke in 1:11.88 and 50-meter freestyle in 28.48, both best times.

Peru won the combined team title with 1,149 points ahead of Puerto Rico (1,073) and Trinidad & Tobago (818.5). Host Trinidad & Tobago won the men’s team title with 520.5. Peru also won the women’s team title with 628 points.

Among dignitaries attending the meet was FINA treasurer Dale Neuburger.

“In a single word, it’s been fantastic,” Neuburger told PanAm Aquatics guest interviewer Jordy Groters.

“The easiest thing to do during the pandemic and immediately afterwards is to not do something, to cancel, to say no. The willingness for PanAm Aquatics to host an important event like this and for Trinidad & Tobago’s swimming federation to host this event and all that goes along with it, they really are to be commended for it. It’s so easy to say ‘we can’t do something.’ It takes a lot to do this under tough conditions.”

Several countries chose not to compete because of other meets being held the same week and close proximity of the world championships.

“We had 17 nations here which is tremendous,” Neuburger said. “We are a couple of weeks away from a world championship. This has been a tremendous step forward. The success of this event by word-of-mouth will bring other federations, swimmers and coaches the next time.”

The meet attracted 232 athletes from 17 nations and served as a qualification meet for the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games. The four-day tournament, formally called the UANA Cup, is an elite championship for age group swimmers. The event had athletes from South America, Central America, British Commonwealth and Caribbean.

: 1. Peru 1,149, 2. Puerto Rico 1,073, 3. Trinidad & Tobago 818.5, 4. Jamaica 278.5, 5. Honduras 236.5.
WOMEN: 1. Peru 628, 2. Puerto Rico 561, 3. Trinidad & Tobago 250, 4. Jamaica 182, 5. Colombia 142.
MEN: 1. Trinidad & Tobago 520.5, 2. Peru 467, 3. Puerto Rico 460, 4. Honduras 159.5, 5. Surinam 118.

1500-meter freestyle: 11-and-over, 1. Emma Guglielmello, PUR 17:13.24, 2. Danna Moreno, ECU 17:19.51, 3. Tifany Jinete, COL 17:43.77.

100-meter backstroke: 11-12, 1. Elvira Demera, ECU 1:11.88; 13-14, 1. Carolyn Levy-Powell, JAM 1:08.10; 15-17, 1. Alexia Acuna, PER 1:04.21; 18-and-over, 1. Ornella Walker, TTO 1:04.18.

200-meter butterfly: 11-and-over, 1. Yasmin Contreras, PER 2:19.12, 2. Maria Machuca, PER 2:22.30, 3. Jennifer Posada, HON 2:22.61.

50-meter freestyle: 11-12, 1. Elvira Demera, ECU 28.48, 2. Karla Carrizo, PAN 28.94, 3. Astrid Cervantes, PER 29.38.

1500-meter freestyle: 11-and-over, 1. Diego Paredes, HON 16:12.43, 2. Caleb Serrano, PUR 16:36.70, 3. Adrian Papi, PER 16:39.62.

100-meter backstroke: 11-12, 1. Esteban Loncharich, PER 1:10.96; 13-14, 1. David Guevara, ECU 1:01.05; 15-17, 1. Zackary Gresham, GRN 59.54; 18-and-over, 1. Yeziel Morales, PUR 56.67.

200-meter butterfly: 11-and-over, 1. Victor Rosado, PUR 2:02.50, 2. Ariel Herrera, ECU 2:07.56, 3. Jose Olivo, PER 2:08.27.

50-meter freestyle: 11-12, 1. Carlos Carmona, PER 26.73; 13-14, 1. Zachary Anthony, TTO 24.79; 15-17, 1. Nikoli Blackman, TTO 22.71; 18-and-over, 1. Ricardo Willing, PER 23.88.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Teenager Katie Grimes Steals The Show At TYR Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb
MISSION VIEJO, Calif., June 4, 2022–Teenager Katie Grimes is making her name known at the fourth and final TYR Pro Swim Series at newly-renovated Marguerite Aquatics Center.

Grimes, who first stepped into the spotlight during the 2020 Summer Olympics where she finished fourth in the 800-meter freestyle as the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team at 15, continues to make a name for herself at age 16.

On Saturday, Grimes of Sandpipers of Nevada won her fourth event in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:27.72, her final event of the meet. She also had wins in the 400 freestyle, 200 backstroke and 400 IM.

In other finals:
Egyptian Olympian Marwan Aly El Kamash, who won the 1500, came back to win the 800-meter freestyle in 8:00.74. He led for most of the race.

Isabelle Stadden of Cal won the 100-meter backstroke in 1:00.21. Her splits were 29.38 and 30.03.

Justin Ress of Mission Viejo led from start to finish to win the 100-meter backstroke in 53.80.

Isabelle Odgers of USC won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:28.68.

Texas Longhorn Will Licon won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:12.28, winning by more than six seconds ahead of Ethan Hansen.

Turkish national record holder Viktoria Gunes, swimming unattached won the 200 IM in 2:13.80.

Grant House of Sun Devil Swimming won the 200 IM in 1:59.84, the only swimmer under 2 minutes.

Poland’s Kasia Wasick of Team Rebel Aquatics won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.70.

David Curtiss of Wolfpack Elite won the 50-meter freestyle in 21.80.

Julio Horrego, 23, a 2020 Honduran Olympian will use this meet as a learning experience. He was disqualified for the second time in the meet in the prelims of the 200-meter breaststroke where he was seeded fourth in 2:17.35. He was disqualified for fly kick under the water. Next up for Horrego will be the world championships in Hungary.

Also on Saturday, SOFLO teammate Ricardo Roche, 22, swam another 100-meter backstroke time trial finishing in 1:00.98. His first time trial was 1:00.84.

On Sunday the meet will be televised on CNBC taped-delay at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively.

SOFLO is sponsored by TYR, a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories. One of the nation’s top companies, TYR was created by athletes and named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology.

57th Mel Zajac Junior International Swim Meet at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, Canada:

Eagle Aquatics’ Erika Pelaez, 15, a member of the USA Swimming Junior National team, picked up two more wins. In the 50-meter backstroke, Pelaez was the fastest qualifier in 28.34 and won in 28.37. In the 50-meter freestyle, she was fastest qualifier in 25.85 and won in 25.78. She was also a member of the third place 800-meter freestyle relay that finished in 8:17.81.

Treasure Coast Aquatics’ Blair Stoneburg, 18, was fastest qualifier in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:18.44 and finished third in 4:16.74. She was also tenth in the 50-meter freestyle in 26.80. She was also on the third-place 800 free relay.

Treasure Coast teammate Mitchell Ledford, 17, was second fastest qualifier in the 100-meter butterfly in 54.92and came back to win in 54.31. He was also on the second place 800 freestyle relay.

Sarasota Sharks’ Addison Sauickie, 16, was 19th in the 100-meter butterfly and sixth in the 400-meter freestyle 4:18.90 after going 4:22.20 in prelims. She was also on the third-place 800 free relay with Pelaez and Stoneburg.


800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Grimes, SAND 8:27.72, 2. Erica Sullivan, TEX 8:47.54, 3. Olivia McMurray, TEX 8:54.20.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Isabelle Stadden, CAL 1:00.21,2. Bella Sims, SAND 1:01.33, 3. Teagan O’Dell, NOVA 1:01.46.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Isabelle Odgers, TRO 2:28.68, 2. Katja Pavicevic, TAC 2:29.81, 3. Kaitlyn Dobler, TRO 2:31.10.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Viktoria Gunes, UN 2:13.80, 2. Justina Kozan, UN 2:14.72, 3. Lindsay Looney, SUN 2:16.15.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Katarzyna Wasick, TRA 24.70, 2. Kyla Leibel, TEX 25.47,3. Anicka Delgado, EVO 25.95.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Marwan Aly El Kamash, ISC 8:00.74, 2. Brice Barrieault, SAND 8:05.59, 3. Ilya Kharun, SAND 8:08.49.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Justin Ross, MV 53.80, 2. Colby Mefford, UN 55.99, 3. Mikita Tsmyh, UN 57.01.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Will Licon, TEX 2:12.28, 2. Ethan Hansen, SUN 2:18.53, 3. Brandon Fischer, UN 2:19.25.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Grant House, SUN 1:59.84, 2. Ilya kharun, SAND 2:04.43, 3. Tyler Kopp, UN 2:05.09.

50-meter freestyle: 1. David Curtiss, WOLF 21.80, 2. Ryan Held, NYAC 22.08, 3. Artyom Machekin, SDSA 22.43.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com