13-Year Old Erika Pelaez Becomes Youngest Qualifier for 2020 US Olympic Trials

2020 Senior Long Course Sectional Qualifier

  • February 6th-8th, 2020
  • LCM (50m) pool
  • Plantation, Florida
  • Results on Meet Mobile “2020 Senior Long Course Sectional Qualifier”

Racing this weekend at a Sectionals qualifier meet in Plantation, Florida, 13-year old Erika Pelaez became the youngest qualifier so far for the 2020 Olympic Swimming Trials.

Pealez swam a 56.03 in the 100 free and 1:02.65 in the 100 back. Those times undercut the Olympic Trials standards of 56.29 and 1:02.69, respectively. Her previous best times of 57.51 and 1:04.10, respectively, were Junior National standards.

Pelaez also swam 26.12 in the 50 free and 29.90 in the 50 back. The Olympic Trials standard in the 50 free is 25.99, while the 50 back is not an Olympic event.

Pelaez turned 13 over the summer, and will still be 13 when the 2020 Olympic Trials roll around in June. 2 other swimmers have hit qualifying standards at 13 years old. Katie Grimes from Sandpipers of Nevada swam 4:11.61 in the 400 free at the U.S. Open last summer, while Jillian Cox from Austin Trinity Aquatic Club swam 4:16.27 in the same event at the Swim Meet of Champions in June. Both swimmers have since turned 14, and both were a little older than Palaez when they hit their cuts.

While USA Swimming doesn’t record single-age records, Pelaez’s time in the 100 free is the fastest on record that we could find for a 13-year old American, undercutting Missy Franklin’s 56.14 from the 2008 Olympic Trials. Her 100 back ranks as the 6th-best time ever for an American 13-year old: a ranking led by Alex Walsh, who swam a 1:00.84 at the 2015 Junior National Championships.

Pelaez swims for Eagle Aquatics in Miami Shores, Florida.

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2 years ago

Congrats Erika! You are so talented! I am so proud of you.

Swim Dad
2 years ago

The videos of her races got uploaded to YouTube earlier today.

Reply to  Swim Dad
2 years ago


2 years ago

Erika is an extremely talented swimmer, I’ve seen her race since she was 6 years old. Her family, coaches, and teammates are one of the nicest on deck. She is very humble and nice to everyone, this was well deserved for her. She has a very have a bright future!

Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

So true

2 years ago

Congratulations to Erika!  The trials will be a fantastic experience for her and a reward for her hard work. Milestones such as these will be life long memories for her and other US qualifiers.

Sadly, after a change to the SA by-laws early this season, Australian 13yr old girls with a qualifying time have been banned from the Australian trials. 

The Unoriginal Tim
Reply to  David
2 years ago

Why are they banned?

Reply to  The Unoriginal Tim
2 years ago

They have historically restricted younger swimmers from competing at big meets in order to discourage over-training, and encourage just having fun with the sport at a young age.

Reply to  Confused
2 years ago

I agree with these restrictions because these youngsters can totally burn out. We want them in the sport for longer.

2 years ago

Check that 50 free time there.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  MICHAEL
2 years ago

Yes she would almost have to even split her 100 at that rate

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Oh to be 13 and not get tired in your races yet

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

She had a negative split in the 100 yd. free at Florida high school championship meet.

Tommy Starkweather
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Well, her best is a 26.1, she should go out in less than a second over her best, so a 27.0 out and back in a 28 high is not unreasonable.

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