Three American swimmers worked their way on to the 2023-24 U.S. National Team with their performances at the 2023 Pan American Games last month in Santiago, Chile.
USA Swimming announced 94 swimmers who qualified for the U.S. National Team back in September, but the selection criteria included a note that more could be added if they swam a top-6 time this year in an Olympic event at Pan Ams (and nobody is bumped off the roster as a result).
Pan Ams gold medalists David Curtiss, Paige Madden, and Rachel Stege just missed the national squad this summer, but their wins last month catapulted them onto the team. Curtiss, a 21-year-old former NC State swimmer, won the 50-meter freestyle in 21.85, passing Jonny Kulow (21.87) for 6th in the nation this year.
Madden, a 25-year-old Olympian, placed 4th in the 400 free at the U.S. National Championships with a time of 4:06.78. However, Claire Weinstein had gone 4:06.24 in March and Jillian Cox won the B-final in 4:06.60, leaving Madden on the outside looking in. The former University of Virginia standout bounced back at Pan Ams with wins in the 400 free (4:06.45) and 800 free (8:27.99), moving up to No. 6 and No. 7 in the nation this year, respectively.
Stege’s progression onto the 2023-24 U.S. National Team was surely the most improbable. The 20-year-old University of Georgia junior placed 13th in the 1500 free at U.S. Nationals (16:29.55) before going almost 16 seconds faster at Pan Ams just a few months later with a winning time of 16:13.59). Stege had to be under Erica Sullivan‘s 16:16.94 in order to earn a U.S. National Team berth in the event.
Benefits of being a U.S. National Team member include access to Elite Athlete Health Insurance and undisclosed monthly stipends.