U.S. Swimmers Compete For Team Spots At World Championships Trials

By Stafford Braxton | July 20, 2017, 12:38 p.m. (ET)

Tucker Dupree will compete for a spot on his fifth world championships team at the U.S. Paralympics World Championships Trials this weekend.  

Team USA recently closed out the World Para Swimming World Series with a final stop in Berlin earlier this month. With strong performances during the first-ever world series circuit, the squad will now embark on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming World Championships Trials, July 21-23, at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With world championships spots on the line, the athletes will need to prove what it takes to compete against the world’s best. Following the competition in Colorado Springs, the chosen team will compete in Mexico City at the World Para Swimming World Championships from Sept. 30 – Oct. 6.

Twenty-seven-time world champion and four-time Paralympian, Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland), will lead as the most-experienced athlete at the competition. In 2015, Long walked away with seven medals, including four golds, from the world championships in Glasgow, Scotland. She followed that success with six medals at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, becoming the second-most decorated Paralympian in U.S. history. Long returns to the pool with hopes of being named to her sixth world championships team, defending her titles and continuing her dominance in the pool against the world’s best.

Long will be joined by many notable past U.S. teammates in her quest for success in Mexico City. Two-time Paralympian and three-time gold medalist Rebecca Meyers (Baltimore, Maryland) will compete to defend her two world titles in the S13 400-meter freestyle and 200 individual medley. Joining her are Rio teammates, three-time Paralympian and four-time medalist Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, North Carolina), two-time Paralympic silver medalist Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) and three-time Paralympic gold medalist McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia). Paralympic silver medalist Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colorado), two-time Paralympic bronze medalist Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Paralympic bronze medalists Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) and Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey) will also compete for a top spot. Griswold returns to the pool after setting two world records at the World Para Swimming World Series in Berlin. He touched for the world’s best time in the S8 50 and 200 backstroke. He will go for gold once again with hopes of making his second world championships team.

Be on the lookout for strong performances from additional Paralympians including Tye Dutcher (Merced, California), Leslie Cichocki (Palos Hills, Illinois), Letticia Martinez (Las Cruces, New Mexico), Curtis Lovejoy (Atlanta, Georgia), Martha Ruether (Allegany, New York) and Natalie Sims (Edina, Minnesota).

Represented by 19 athletes, three recent emerging team standouts will look to continue their success in Colorado Springs. In Berlin, Connor Gioffreda (Timonium, Maryland) set the American record in the S6 200 free, while also setting the American and Pan American record in the 800. Teammate Aspen Shelton (Willow Park, Texas) made her mark in the pool, setting the American, Pan American and world record in the S13 200 back and Gia Pergolini (Roswell, Georgia) grabbed the American and Pan American records in the S13 50 back. All three athletes will compete to be selected for their first world championships team.

Follow U.S. Paralympics on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updated information during the event. Full results can be found here