2023 National Championships Open in Orlando in World Record Fashion

by U.S. Paralympics Swimming

Photo from men's race at the 2023 national champs. (Photo by Kevin Lubin/USOPC)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – More than 100 Para swimmers made their way to Orlando for the 2023 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships which run from Dec. 15-17. A mix of Paralympic veterans and the next generation of swimmers, the opening day saw stand out performances including world records broken from world championship silver medalist Morgan Ray (St. Augustine, Florida) and Paralympic champion Gia Pergonlini (Atlanta, Georgia) in the men’s 200m breaststroke S6 and women’s 50m backstroke S13 respectively.

The last event of the 2023 season, results from the event are a pivotal step on the road to the Paralympic Games Paris 2024 as performances count towards minimum qualifying standards needed for athletes to be able to compete at the upcoming U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Swimming set to take place next June in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Additional records from the day included an Americas and American record from two-time Paralympic champion Ellie Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in the women’s 100m butterfly S6. Fresh off her seven podium apperances at the recent Parapan American Games in Santiago, Taylor Winnett (Hershey, Pennsylvania) added an Americas record in the women’s 50m butterfly S10.

“I had the world record time in the back of my mind going into the race, but mainly just focused on putting together a solid first race at these national championships,” said Ray who looks to make his first Paralympic team in Paris.

“It gives me a lot of confidence to know that my new training is working, and I'm so stoked for this upcoming year. This is a huge weekend to see where we're all at as we make the final push to U.S. Paralympic Trials in June.”

“I feel great,” said Paralympian Colleen Young who grabbed gold in the women’s 200m breaststroke. “The first race you compete in, especially in the morning, is to get the jitters out. I feel like I did that this morning, and I came away with gold so I’m really happy and looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

“Any moment we can get long course racing is huge especially with Paris on the line next year. Being able to race in a great pool like this and having everyone here to support each other is really great to see.”

Competition will resume on Saturday, Dec. 16 with preliminary sessions starting at 9 a.m. ET and finals starting at 5:30 p.m. ET. All races are mixed class, and results based on the World Para Swimming points system to create an equitable field of play among the different classes. The evening finals are being streamed live on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming website and Facebook page. For full timed results, click here

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Day 1 Results - WPS Points

Women’s 200m Breaststroke SB1-9, SB11-14

  1. Colleen Young – S13
  2. Maria Francescotti – S9
  3. Sarah Bofinger – S9

Men’s 200m Breaststroke SB1-9, SB11-14

  1. Morgan Ray – S6
  2. Aiden Stivers – S10
  3. Sawyer Mills – S10

Women’s 400m IM SM5-14

  1. Rachel Keehn – S10

Men’s 400m IM SM5-14

  1. Sawyer Mills – S10
  2. Jeff Lovett – S14
  3. Tyler Austin – S14

Women’s 400m Freestyle S6-S14

  1. Elizabeth Marks – S6
  2. McKenzie Coan – S7
  3. Olivia Chambers – S13

Men’s 400m Freestyle S6-S14

  1. Noah Jaffe – S8
  2. Zach Zona – S8
  3. Braxton Wong – S9

Women 50m Backstroke S1-S5

  1. Leanne Smith – S3
  2. Victoria Beelner – S5
  3. Eden Schroeder – S1

Men’s 50m Backstroke S1-S5

  1. Abbas Karimi – S5

Women’s 100m Butterfly S8-S14

  1. Grace Nufher – S13
  2. Taylor Winnett – S10
  3. Gia Pergolini – S13

Men’s 100m Butterfly S8-S14

  1. Lawrence Sapp – S14
  2. Trevor Lukacsko – S14
  3. Jeff Lovett – S14

Women’s 50m Butterfly S2-S7

  1. Julia Gaffney – S7
  2. McKenzie Coan – S7
  3. Ahalya Lettenberger – S7

Men’s 50m Butterfly S2-S7

  1. Zach Shattuck – S6
  2. Noah Thomas – S6
  3. Abbas Karimi – S5