Illinois HS State Finalist Sofija Tijunelis Commits To Pitt (2024)

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Sofija Tijunelis of Libertyville, Illinois, has announced her verbal commitment to swim and study at the University of Pittsburgh next fall. Tijunelis is currently a senior at Libertyville High School, and swims year-round with RISE Aquatic Club, located in the Willowbrook area.

Tijunelis is a sprint freestyle and backstroke specialist. Last fall, she competed for her high school at the Illinois High School State Championships, where she finished as high as 6th in the 100 freestyle (51.49). She also clocked a 56.61 in prelims of the 100 backstroke to claim a spot in the B-final, where she ultimately finished 12th (58.34). 

More recently, Tijunelis raced at the Illinois Swimming LCM Senior Championships in July. She shaved off nearly a tenth of a second in the 50m free to finish 12th (27.10), while in the 100m back she recorded a 1:06.98 for 13th overall. Another highlight was the 200m freestyle, where she dropped almost two seconds for a 2:11.78.

She also set a slew of personal best times at the short course version of the Illinois Swimming Senior Championships in March. Among her top swims was the 200 backstroke, as she dropped over five seconds from her previous in 2019 to post a 2:02.19 and take 5th. Additionally, she established new best times in the 100 back (56.54) and 200 free (1:53.78), finishing 13th and 17th, respectively.

Top SCY Times:

  • 50 free – 23.90
  • 100 free – 51.49
  • 200 free – 1:53.78
  • 100 back – 56.54
  • 200 back – 2:02.19

Led by first-year head coach Chase Kreitler, the Panthers finished 11th at the 2023 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships. This year, it took times of 22.71 and 49.59 to make it out of prelims in the 50 and 100 freestyle. 

Leading the sprint squad in the 2022-2023 season was Sophie Yendell, who grabbed 6th at ACCs with a 21.89. Yendell also scored for Pitt in the 100, where she stopped the clock at 49.07 for 19th. Assuming Yendell does not take a 5th year, she will no longer be on campus next fall when Tijunelis arrives.

Joining Tijunelis in the Panthers’ incoming class next fall is fellow sprinters Anna Wiechterjes, Mary Clarke, and Avery Hafele, as well as mid-distance freestyler Kimberly Shannon and butterflier Allie Witdoeckt.

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Antanas Sabaliukas
5 days ago

Yellow, green and red.