Hardcore Swimmer of the Month: Erica Sullivan & The 9,000 Meters

Hardcore Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer or water polo player who has proven themselves truly hardcore over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Hardcore Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishements slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

Erica Sullivan has celebrated the month of her 17th birthday by racing nearly 9,000 meters.

The distance swimmer has had a busy August, tripling up on the U.S. Open, U.S. Junior Nationals and the World Junior Championships for a grand total of 12 pool swims and 8,700 meters of high-level domestic and international racing. And several of those races yielded lifetime-best intermediate splits in important races.

Here’s a look at all her swims over the month of August, plus her a few key intermediate split performances:

Meet Event Phase Time Place
U.S. Open 400 free Heats 4:11.51 1st
U.S. Open 400 free Finals 4:09.43 1st
U.S. Open 1500 free Timed Finals 16:05.83 1st
Junior Nationals 800 free Timed Finals 8:33.49 1st
Junior Nationals 400 IM Heats 4:48.97 2nd
Junior Nationals 400 IM Finals 4:51.88 6th
Junior Nationals 400 free Heats 4:17.38 7th
Junior Nationals 400 free Finals 4:12.92 2nd
Junior Nationals 200 free Heats 2:04.49 38th
Junior Nationals 1500 free Timed Finals 16:21.74 1st
World Juniors 800 free Timed Finals 8:39.20 8th
World Juniors 1500 free Timed Finals 16:20.12 4th

Intermediate Splits:

Meet Event Split Split Time
U.S. Open 1500 free 800 free 8:34.30**
U.S. Open 400 free 200 free 2:03.70
Junior Nationals 400 IM 100 fly 1:04.12**
World Juniors 800 free 200 free 2:03.43
World Juniors 1500 free 800 free 8:37.81

**Indicates a split that was a lifetime-best time for that event at the time of the swim.

Sullivan was 2.3 seconds away from becoming the only swimmer this year to medal at U.S. Open, U.S. Juniors and World Juniors – she was 4th at World Juniors in the mile, just a few seconds out of bronze. Sullivan also won two golds at U.S. Open and two golds and a silver at U.S. Juniors.

While her performances have dropped off over the course of the month (and while the strategy of packing in so much racing before a major event like World Juniors can be questioned), there’s no question that Sullivan’s August has been the definition of Hardcore.


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USA Swim Coach
3 years ago

To make the National Team she had to post her best performances at US Open. Jr Nationals and World Jr times would not count towards making the National Team. Every race after US Open was what ever she had left in the tank. It’s tough to question the motivation of all the racing but it’s also tough to separate the importance make the National Team.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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