Daisy Collins, Dillon Brigman Win Junior 5K Titles at Open Water Nationals


A pair of 14-year-olds, Daisy Collins and Dillon Brigman, secured junior nationals titles in the 15&U 5K held Saturday at the 2023 U.S. Open Water National Championships in Sarasota, Florida.

Collins, who competes for the North Carolina Aquatic Club, beat Laker Swim standout Rylee Erisman by just 14 seconds for the junior 5k crown with a winning time of 1:03:14.

“I had no idea what I was doing going into it, but it was definitely tough going (south) because of the sun and the boats that were pushing towards the shore,” Collins said. “It was hard to not give up when you get tired like that.”

The battle for third place was even tighter as Crimson Aquatics’ Jane Wheeler (1:04:16), Long Island Aquatic Club’s Samantha Anderson (1:04:17), and Laker Swim’s Lilliana Krstolic (1:04:19) were all separated by just three seconds.

Claire Weinstein won the junior 5k last year and went on to win the world junior title in the event. The 16-year-old Sandpipers of Nevada standout will be competing in the women’s division for on Sunday morning.

The top two finishers in each event last year qualified for the World Junior Championships, but this year’s selection criteria is different. The top three eligible boys and girls from the 10k will qualify for the 2023-24 Open Water National Junior Team along with the winner of the junior 7.5k on Sunday, leaving little at stake for the junior 5k.

Girls’ Junior 5K Results

  1. Daisy Collins (North Carolina Aquatic Club) – 1:03:14
  2. Rylee Erisman (Laker Swim) – 1:03:28
  3. Jane Wheeler (Crimson Aquatics) – 1:04:16
  4. Samantha Anderson (Long Island Aquatic Club) – 1:04:17
  5. Lilliana Krstolic (Laker Swim) – 1:04:19
  6. Zara Kocak (Excel Aquatics) – 1:05:20
  7. Riley Christensen (Sandpipers of Nevada) – 1:05:29
  8. Abby Hill (Barrington Swim Club) – 1:05:30

The boys’ race was slightly less close as Brigman won by more than a minute with a time of 59:01, bringing home more hardware for his Bolles School Sharks club. The crowded nature of the race forced him to adjust his strategy to get ahead of the pack.

“I just wanted to stay with everyone for the first lap and I was getting kind of trampled, so I just decided to go off alone and then finish it,” Brigman said. “It’s great. I knew I could get that. I’m just glad I did.”

His victory is even more impressive considering that he seems to be a relatively new distance convert, having never swam the 1650 free before last season. Now he’s 71st in the U.S. boys’ 13-14 national age group (NAG) rankings with a best time of 15:45.61 from Winter Juniors in December.

Irvine Novaquatics 14-year-old Max Stewart placed second in the junior 5k with a 1:00:17. His personal-best 1650 free time (15:35.49) is better than Brigman’s, ranking 30th in their age group. Sarasota Sharks 14-year-old Colin Jacobs took third place in 1:00:47, just five seconds ahead of Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team 14-year-old Jackson Irwin. Jacobs was the highest returning finisher from last year, when he placed fifth.

Boys’ Junior 5K Results

  1. Dillon Brigman (Bolles School Sharks) – 59:01
  2. Max Stewart (Irvine Novaquatics) – 1:00:17
  3. Colin Jacobs (Sarasota Sharks) – 1:00:47
  4. Jackson Irwin (Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team) – 1:00.52
  5. Rylan Sepulveda (Bolles School Sharks) – 1:01:05
  6. Juan Vallmitjana (South Florida Aquatic Club) – 1:01:06
  7. James Darcy (Long Island Aquatic Club) – 1:01:10
  8. Santi Alzate (SwimMAC Carolina) – 1:01:10

The three-day event at Nathan Benderson Park concludes Sunday with 5K nationals and 7.5K junior nationals.

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1 month ago

thanks a lot of information goodjobs

NCAC on the Rise
1 month ago

Awesome swim, Daisy! Go, NCAC!

Champion of the World
1 month ago


Wild Times
1 month ago

Both of em, Daisy Collins, Dillion Brigman. Those are names to follow.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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