Malibu grad stars at Junior World Swimming Championships

Jordan Wilimovsky (far left) proudly wears his silver medal on the medal stand at the Junior World Swimming Championships. Photo courtesy of Wendy Wilimovsky

2012 Malibu High School graduate Jordan Wilimovsky is tearing up the water these days. On Friday, Aug. 17 Wilimovsky won the silver medal in the boys 18 and under 7.5-kilometer race in the first ever FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships at the Welland International Flatwater Centre in Ontario, Canada. Two days later he added a bronze medal to his collection when Team USA placed third in the 3K team relay.

“It was great. I was very happy finishing in second,” said Wilimovsky, who will attend Northwestern University this fall. “Being a part of Team USA was incredible. It was fun to represent the United States.”

The 7.5K event is a grueling race consisting of three laps in 2.5K intervals. Wilimovsky swam valiantly and crossed the finish line in 1:25:19. Rob Muffels of Germany grabbed the gold medal finishing with a remarkable time of 1:24:59.

Muffels established an early lead, only to see Wilimovsky close ground quickly in the last lap. Coming from as far back as seventh, Wilimovsky broke away from the main pack and made up 15 seconds on Muffels during the final lap.

“The last lap was real tough,” Wilimovsky said. “Physically I was in shape, but it’s tough mentally. You have to stay focused and positive. I thought we would do well and it was a good experience to compete here. ”

On the final day of competing, Wilimovsky and Team USA took the bronze medal in the 3K behind Germany and Russia with a time of 1:41:29. He ran the fastest leg for the Americans in 33:41.6.

More than 400 swimmers from 31 countries competed in the four-day competition. Many of the world’s best 1500-meter junior swimmers attended the World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships.

Wilimovsky arrived just days after breaking the U.S. Junior National record in the 1500-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN. His record-breaking swim of 15:23.01 earned him a spot on the USA National Junior Team for pool events as well as open water for 2012-2013.

“This event was one of the toughest on the planet. The Europeans were especially tough, bringing their very best swimmers who ranked among some of the best on the planet in the pool,” said Team USA coach Dave Kelsheimer. “Jordan stood up to the amazing competition, bringing home the USA’s only individual medal with his silver in the 7.5K and helping earn the USA’s only other medal for these championships as he led his team in the 3K event on the final day to earn a bronze.”

Wilimovsky, 18, trained for 18 hours a week leading up to the event. Working out five days a week on a regimented schedule, he swam 6,000 to 7,000 yards in the mornings and an additional 8,000 to 9,000 yards in the afternoon.

“Jordan’s hard work and willingness to stay focused on conquering whatever challenge that lay before him has paid off in huge gains,” Kelsheimer said.

Ranked 73rd in the world in the 1500m freestyle and 22nd in the world for 18 and under, Wilimovsky now turns his attention to swimming for Northwestern. He leaves for Chicago on September 9 and intends on competing for the Wildcats in the 1650 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley.

“It will be different from Malibu, but I am looking forward to meeting new friends, swimming and enjoying college,” Wilimovsky said.