Sophia Swain, daughter of U.S. World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist Mike Swain, led Team USA up the podium today in Buenos Aires for a gold medal at the Junior Pan American Championships. All total, the teamof young fighters is bringing home five medals from this super competitive tournament.
Following in her parents’ footsteps – her mom, too, was a successful judoka, competing notably for Brazil’s junior team – Sophia Swain is the first U.S. female to take the top spot on the podium in this junior division (born 1993-95) at a Pan American Championship in perhaps 12 years, said Jim Hrbek, chairman of USA Judo’s Junior Athlete Performance Committee.
These are among the most ambitious juniors in the hemisphere competing at this tournament in the capital of Argentina. Swain, 70 kg (USA Judo Training Site, San Jose State Judo, San Jose, CA), defeated her opponent in the semi-finals on penalties. In the final for gold she bested her opponent from Ecuador with an osoto gari for ippon.
“I'm really proud of my teammates and grateful for all the help I've received from USA Judo and SJSU Spartan families,” Swain said. “Now, I'm just looking forward to returning home, continuing to train hard, and working on more judo!”
Winning bronze medals today were L.A. Smith, 100 kg. (Cranford Judo Karate club, Rahway, NJ), and Tyler Yonemori, 66 kg. (USA Judo Training Site, Pedro’s Judo Center/Shudokan, Wakefield, Mass.).
These medals today were on top of winnings yesterday when Summer Truong, 48 kg (USA Judo Training Site, Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO) took silver and Mackenzie Williams, 78+ kg (Becerra Judo and Jujitsu of Garland, TX) took a bronze medal.
See the entire ROSTER.