US Teams Start Strong At UANA Pan American Championships

By Dax Lowery | Aug. 19, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Several U.S. teams are in prime contention as final competitions begin at the UANA Pan American Synchronized Swimming Championships. The U.S. Junior and 13-15 national teams and the Santa Clara Aquamaids all placed first in the team preliminaries this past weekend.

The U.S. Junior national team leads after Sunday’s team prelims with a score of 149.4025. Canada (148.4635) stands in second and Brazil (143.6995) is third.

Emma Baranski of the New Canaan Aquianas is in second place in the junior solo event with 146.7595 points. Canada’s Anne-Marie Chouinard is in first (151.614), and her teammate Clare McGovern is in third place at 146.5115.

The Santa Clara Aquamaids’ Rebecca Moody was third in junior figures with a score of 72.421. Monica Velazquez-Stiak (71.354) and Claire Barton (71.033), members of the U.S. Junior National team, were fourth and fifth. Team USA’s Elizabeth Wiita (70.694, seventh) and Baranski (70.622, eighth) also cracked the top 10.

Team USA also led the team prelims in the 13-15 age division, posting a 145.0925 score. Canada (142.3185) and Mexico (132.3350) are second and third.

Olivia Ekberg placed first in the 13-15 solo prelims at 148.2620. Canada’s Halle Pratt is in second with 146.0170 points, and Brazil’s Maria Clara Coutinho (142.1580) is third.

Ekberg also led a list of five U.S. swimmers placing in the top 10 in the 13-15 figures results. Ekberg placed first with a score of 71.887, followed by Daria Torba (70.969) in third, Dana Drury (70.655) in fourth, Nicole Dzurko (69.550) in eighth and Celine Joo (69.527) in ninth.

In the 12 and under competition, the Santa Clara Aquamaids placed first the team prelims with 123.2165 points. Lindi Schroeder (unaffiliated) leads in the solo event at 131.6835 points, followed by Canada’s Paige Hopper (131.0335) and Aivan Nguyen of La Mirada Aquabelles, who scored 130.4770 points.

Schroeder was second in figures at 64.896 and Nguyen (64.252) placed third. Santa Clara had three swimmers also in the top 10: Hailee Heinrich (60.501) in fourth, Chesnie Cheung (60.229) sixth and Colleen Li (59.132) 10th.

The competition continues Tuesday with solo and team finals.

The 2013 U.S. Junior National Team includes: Anita Alvarez (Kenmore, N.Y./Tonawanda Aquettes), Claire Barton (Los Gatos, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Kaylee Bowman (Mesa, Ariz./Arizona Desert Dolphins), Karina Boyle (Walnut Creek, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts), Gillian Brassil (Moroga, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts), Katie Gu (San Jose, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Rachel Hyon (Cypress, Calif./La Mirada Aquabelles), Isabel Malcolmson (San Jose, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Sandra Ortellado (Walnut Creek, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts), Karensa Tjoa (San Jose, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Monica Velazquez-Stiak (Phoenix, Ariz./Scottsdale Arizona) and Elizabeth Wiita (Vancouver, Wash./MAC Synchro)

The 2013 U.S. 13-15 National Team includes: Dana Drury (Walnut Creek, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts), Nicole Dzurko (Monte Sereno, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Olivia Ekberg (Gilbert, Ariz./Arizona Desert Dolphins), Natalie Fletcher (Concord, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts), Celine Joo (Los Gatos, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Rachel Lau (Cupertino, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Jacklyn Luu (Milipitas, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Catalina Nedelcu (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Aquettes), Leilah Talukder (Los Gatos, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids), Daria Torba (Orinda, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts), Rachel Ye (San Jose, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids) and Arina Yu (Cypress, Calif./La Mirada Aquabelles)