Ilya Kharun Removed from Junior Pan Pacs Team Among Citizenship Confusion

Star age group swimmer Ilya Kharun has been removed from the U.S. roster for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in August and the Open Water World Junior Championships in September.

USA Swimming confirmed the news, saying that they were “recently informed that Ilya is not an American citizen.”

It is not clear how or why Kharun got so far into the selection process before it became known that he was not a US citizen, and the 17-year old Sandpipers of Nevada swimmer declined to comment, for now, on the situation.

While Kharun is a member of a USA Swimming team, an individual close to the situation tells SwimSwam that they believe Kharun was born in Canada.

There is other likely fallout from the fact that Kharun is not an American citizen. That includes invalidation of his National Age Group Record from December, which is currently still recognized in USA Swimming’s official records lists. Kharun swam a 45.59 in the 100-yard fly at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships West meet last year, which broke the prior record of 45.62 set by Luca Urlando.

The USA Swimming submission form required for all National Age Group Records includes the rules that an athlete must be a U.S. citizen.

USA Swimming did not respond to how they would handle the record, nor how they would handle his results from Open Water Nationals or April’s US International Team Trials. Both of those meets were only open to athletes eligible to represent the United States, which we now know Kharun is not, and among his results was a Junior National title in the 7.5km open water race.

USA Swimming’s Junior Pan Pacs roster was already over the statutory limit of 40 athletes by one, another wrinkle they declined to explain, though Kharun’s scratch makes it moot. This means that Kharun’s roster slot won’t be filled.

He will be replaced by Alex Ayers of SwimMAC Carolina in the 7.5km race at the Open Water World Junior Championships in September. Ayers finished 3rd in the 7.5km US National Junior Championship race earlier this year behind Kharun and Luke Ellis, who is already on the team.

Updated US Roster for the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships

Women’s Team
Name Event(s) Hometown Club*
Berit Berglund 100 BK Carmel, Ind Carmel Swim Club
Lily Christianson 50 FR Osceola, Ind . Irish Aquatics
Jillian Cox 800 FR Cedar Park, Texas Longhorn Aquatics
Piper Enge 100 BR Mercer Island, Wash . Bellevue Club Swim Team
Erin Gemmell 200/400 FR Potomac, Md . Nation’s Capital Swim Club
Cavan Gormsen 400 FR Wantagh, N .Y Long Island Aquatic Club
Kayla Han 1500 FR/400 IM La Mirada, Calif . La Mirada Armada
Bailey Hartman 100 FL Danville, Calif Crow Canyon Sharks
Tess Howley 200 FL Rockaway Park, N .Y Long Island Aquatic Club
Natalie Mannion 200 BK Boston, Mass . Commonwealth Swimming
Michaela Mattes 800/1500 FR Sarasota, Fla . Sarasota Sharks
Anna Moesch 50/100 FR Green Brook, N .J . Greater Somerset County YMCA
Kennedy Noble 200 BK Avondale, Ariz . . Phoenix Swim Club
Teagan O’Dell 200 IM West Covina, Calif Irvine Novaquatics
Julia Podkoscielny 400 IM Fort Lauderdale, Fla Pine Crest Swimming
Alex Shackell 100/200 FL Nashville, Tenn Carmel Swim Club
Emily Thompson 200 IM Basking Ridge, N .J Greater Somerset County YMCA
Maggie Wanezek 100 BK Brookfield, Wisc. Elmbrook Swim Club
Gracie Weyant 200 BR Sarasota, Fla . Sarasota Sharks
Kayla Wilson 100/200 FR Virginia Beach, Fla . Tide Swimming
Men’s Team
Name Event(s) Hometown Club*
Spencer Aurnou-Rhees 200 IM Bexley, Ohio New Albany Aquatic Club
Ben Delmar 200 BR Charlotte, N .C . SwimMAC Carolina
Daniel Diehl 100 BK Cumberland, Md . YMCA of Cumberland
Diggory Dillingham 50 FR Bend, Ore . Bend Swim Club
Bobby Dinunzio 1500 FR Virginia Beach, Va Tide Swimming
Alec Enyeart 400/800/1500 FR Kansas City, Mo . Tsunami Swim Team of K .C .
Zhier Fan 100 BR Plano, Texas Metroplex Aquatics
Thomas Heilman 100/200 FL, 50 FR Crozet, Va Cavalier Aquatics/Piedmont Family YMCA
Keaton Jones 200 BK Gilbert, Ariz . Swim Neptune
Ilya Kharun 100 FL Las Vegas, Nev Sandpipers Of Nevada
Cooper Lucas 400 IM Keller, Texas Lakeside Aquatic Club
Matthew Lucky (200 breast**) Harrisburg, N .C . SwimMAC Carolina
Rex Maurer 200/400 FR Pasadena, Calif . Rose Bowl Aquatics
Henry McFadden 200 FR Haddonfield, N.J. Jersey Wahoos
Watson Nguyen 100 BR Plano, Texas Metroplex Aquatics
Josh Parent 800 FR Wilbraham, Mass Bluefish Swim Club
Aaron Shackell 200 FL Carmel, Ind Carmel Swim Club
Hudson Williams 100 FR Powell, Ohio New Albany Aquatic Club
Maximus Williamson 200/400 IM Southlake, Texas North Texas Nadadores
Kaii Winkler 100 FR Miami, Fla Eagle Aquatics
Josh Zuchowski 100/200 BK Jupiter, Fla . Flood Aquatics Swim Team
Head Coach: Brent Arckey (Sarasota Sharks)
Assistant Coaches: Chuck Batchelor (SwimMAC Carolina), Tom Kleiboeker (Tsunami Swim Team of K .C .), Ginny Nussbaum (Long Island Aquatic Club),

*Club affiliation when athlete had their qualifying swim.
**Matthew Lucky is listed as being in the 200/400 free on the official USA Swimming roster. We believe that this is an error, and he was selected in the 200 breast.

Events listed are the events each athlete qualified for the team in. Athletes may choose to swim additional events at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships

Updated Roster for the 2022 Open Water World Junior Swimming Championships



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8 months ago

Well, Ilya’s times are showing up on the swimming Canada page. I guess he is officially representing Canada going forward!

10 months ago

I am hoping he doesn’t get deported and get permanent denial of US citizenship.

10 months ago

Geez, grownups! Get it together for the kid’s sake!

10 months ago

I don’t know Ilya or his family and I will speculate that most of the commenters don’t them either. What I do know is that he has worked incredibly hard and is a very talented swimmer. In fact, that is an understatement. Unless you are a swimmer, parent of a swimmer or a coach, you have no idea what it takes to get to this level. Stop posting hurtful and ridiculous commentary about a kid and a family that you do not know. My heart goes out to this young man. Not for losing his spot on Pan Pacs, but for getting a taste of just how detached some people are from a little bit of compassion and reason.

Steve Nolan
10 months ago

Wait, he has (had?) a 100y fly NAG and was swimming the 7.5k at this meet?

Sandpipers gonna Sandpiper I guess.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
10 months ago

Everyone’s going off on conspiracy theories but I’m still stuck on this point!!!

10 months ago

Not sure how many years he has been in the US, but I am wondering the family may be in the process of getting the citizenship or not yet five or more years as the requirement for the citizenship application eligibility is having lived here for five or more years being a legal immigrant first.

Reply to  Bo Swims
10 months ago

wow. Great research

Reply to  Bo Swims
9 months ago

He was a sandpiper as a 5 year old and was in the same group as my son.

Reply to  Bella
10 months ago

As a Canadian living in the US married to an American i have 2 Canadian born children who are “Americans Born Abroad” but honestly we only got their Certificates because we moved to the US. My American born son is a “Canadian Born Abroad” but couldn’t compete as Canadian because we didn’t get his Certificate.
Maybe they hadn’t bothered to get his Certificate but thought they could get it quickly enough but like all things government it is taking too long.

Reply to  ecoach
9 months ago

It really doesn’t take that long to get your child their Canadian citizenship documented. Once you submit the papers it’s about 3 months… why wait until there is an urgent need? You never know when it is going to be required.

Chanadler Bong
10 months ago

Wow even better! Ilya’s parents are Cirque Du Soleil performers??? Add that to the rags-to-riches script! The truth really is stranger than fiction.

Reply to  Chanadler Bong
10 months ago

The comment from a family member saying that has disappeared.

10 months ago

He would have to show a birth certificate, passport, or birth identity to enroll in schoo unless something has changed.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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