National Swimming Champion Trains at PaliHi
Jordan Wilimovsky, 24, who lives in the Sunset Mesa neighborhood, won the men’s 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyle races at the USA Swimming’s Winter National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina over the weekend.
Swimming for Team Santa Monica, the 24-year-old Olympic Games swimmer started his meet with the 800-meter race on November 28. His seed time was 7:45.19 (the American record is Michael McBroom’s 7:43.60 in 2013). His winning time was 7:56.88, more than 13 seconds ahead of runner-up Brennan Gravley of Las Vegas.
Going into the 400 freestyle the next morning, Wilimovsky was seeded fifth with a time of 3:51.48. He finished first in 3:50.78 (compared to the U.S. record of 3:43.53 set in 2008 by Larsen Jensen). Mitch D’Arrigo, a Florida resident who competed for Italy in the 2016 Olympics and switched his affiliation to the U.S. in 2017, was second in 3:51.91.
Wilimovsky completed his “hat trick” on December 1 by winning the 1500. His entry time was 14:46.93 and he finished 15:05.96, more than nine seconds ahead of Anton Ipsen.
As a child, Wilimovsky tried to join Junior Lifeguards, 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 Gateway Park—and learning to swim fast enough to make Junior Guards.
He kept with the sport, swimming for Malibu High, where he graduated in 2012. He attended Northwestern and eventually set NCAA records in the 1000 and 1650 freestyle. One of his former Y swim team members said, “Jordan’s gotten crazy fast.”
Wilimovsky won the men’s 10-kilometer open water race at the 2015 FINA World Championship and was fifth in the event at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
He can be found training in the early mornings at the Maggie Gilbert Aquatics Center under Team Santa Monica head coach Dave Kelsheimer, who has been internationally recognized. Wilimovsky also trains with teammate Gordon Mason, who finished fourth in the 1500, sixth in the 400 and seventh in the 800 at the Indoor championships.
Wilimovsky is the son of Rolf and Wendy, and his brother Alex, 21, represents the USA in triathlons.