Long-distance swimmer Jordan Wilimovsky spent one of his last training sessions at the Palisades High School pool on June 24. His coach David Kelsheimer told Circling the News that Jordan was headed to a U.S. training camp in Hawaii before competing in the Tokyo Olympics in early August.
Back in the 2015 World Championships Wilimovsky won the 10,000 meter open-water race, which qualified him for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He finished fifth there in the open- water swim and fourth in the men’s 1500 freestyle.
The Sunset Mesa resident was one of the first athletes to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in the 10K open-water marathon and had hoped to also qualify in the 800 and 1500-meter freestyle at the Olympic trials in Omaha June 13-20. He placed fourth in the 800 (7:53.07) and third in the 1500 (15:05.29), failing to qualify in those events.
At the PaliHi pool last Thursday, Coach Kelsheimer said that the inability to find pools for training during the Covid-19 pandemic had made it difficult for Jordan to prepare.
In an April 28 story in the Daily Northwestern (“Q&A: Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky Discusses Swimming Career, Unusual 2020 Olympic Cycle”), the 27-year-old explained about training in Southern California.
“I took about a month off, which is the longest time I probably spent out of the pool in, like, 10 years. Over the summer and even through the fall , training was pretty difficult trying to find consistent space, just because everything was open one week, closed the next. We’ve been able to get more consistent training and better pool space, and right now, it’s just head down, focusing on the next two months before the Trials.”
He was asked, “You’ve had both the normal Olympic cycle in 2016 as well as the abnormal buildups of both 2020 and 2021. What have you experienced as the challenges of building back up after last spring’s false start?”
Wilimovsky said, “You get to reset and be like, ‘What are some things I can use this year to improve on and some things in my training where I felt like I was lacking in certain areas. You get to have a second shot at it, but at the same time, it’s also pretty frustrating because everything was closed.
“As the Olympics got closer and closer, the reset date got closer and closer, and you’re kind of like, “Hey, I need to get back in the pool, hopefully stuff opens up soon.”
In a May KCRW interview, Wilimovsky said, “Just recently I have been able to find consistent training in Los Angeles. . . .It’s been pretty crazy this year trying to navigate the pandemic and make sure we’re staying safe and doing the right thing, but also getting ready for the Olympic Games.”
As a child, Wilimovsky tried to join the Junior Lifeguards summer camp at Will Rogers State Beach but was unable to swim 100 yards in the required time of one minute fifty seconds. He joined the Palisades-Malibu YMCA swim team, practicing at the now-defunct pool in Temescal Canyon—and learning to swim fast enough to make Junior Lifeguards.
He kept with the sport, swimming for Malibu High, where he graduated in 2012. At Northwestern he set NCAA records in the 1000 and 1650 freestyle. One of his former Y swim team members said, “Jordan’s gotten crazy fast.”
Now he’s on to Hawaii and Tokyo in search of an Olympic gold medal.