Three Team USA Storylines For Swimming Nationals

By Olivia Truby | Dec. 13, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (ET)

Lawrence Sapp returns to U.S. Paralympics National Para Swimming Championships looking to defend five titles.

With less than two years until the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, more than 130 swimmers will take to Oro Valley Aquatic Center in Tucson, Arizona, in search of national titles. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. on Friday through Sunday. With nationals beginning tomorrow, take a glance at a few storylines to watch for as Team USA takes over Tucson.

Powerful Paralympians
More than 130 athletes will compete at nationals, ranging from emerging talent to reigning Paralympic champions. Twenty-one Paralympians will headline the contingent in Arizona, including:  Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina), Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana), Leslie Cichocki (Palos Hills, Illinois), McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia), Cailin Currie (Danvers, Massachusetts), Tye Dutcher (Merced, California), Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey), Lindsay Grogan (Macon, Georgia), McClain Hermes (Dacula, Georgia), Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colorado), Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada), Michelle Konkoly (Eagleville, Pennsylvania), Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland), Curtis Lovejoy (Atlanta, Georgia), Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona), Letticia Martinez (Las Cruces, New Mexico), Martha Ruether (Allegany, New York), Natalie Sims (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Lizzi Smith (Muncie, Indiana), Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) and Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri).

Coveted Crowns
Twenty-nine athletes will take to Oro Valley Aquatic Center in hopes of defending at least one individual national title. Looking to defend the most number of titles is Samuel Murray (Burlington, North Carolina), who won six titles last year, while Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland) and Haven Shepherd (Carthage, Missouri) each look to defend five titles.

Community Component
With the desire to make an impact on the local Tucson community, Team USA has several initiatives outside of the pool while in town. Herzog and Coan will visit the Pediatric Therapy playground of the Tucson Medical Centerwith patients and their families, followed by an appearance on the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon. Additionally, Dutcher will visit with a local swim club to talk about his background, experience and goals. He will be speaking to more than 100 swimmers who will be volunteering at nationals throughout the weekend.

For updates throughout the weekend, follow U.S. Paralympics Swimming on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.