Following last weekend’s Para Swimming World Series stop in Minneapolis, U.S. Paralympics Swimming selected 22 athletes to its roster for the 2023 World Para Swimming Championships in August.
This year’s squad features 16 women and just six men, down from its total of 25 last year.
Leanne Smith, 34, returns as a headliner after leading Team USA at last year’s World Championships in Madeira with gold medals in all seven of her events. It was the most decorated performance by an American since Jessica Long also won seven gold medals in 2010. Speaking of Long, the 31-year-old is back for her eighth World Championships as she seeks to grow her massive 52-medal collection at Worlds in Manchester, England.
Among the other standouts on the women’s side are Paralympic champions McKenzie Coan, Hannah Aspden, Mikaela Jenkins, Elizabeth Marks, and Morgan Stickney. The roster also includes Paralympic medalists Lizzi Smith, Colleen Young, Julia Gaffney, and Ahalya Lettenberger.
The youngest member of this year’s group is high school junior Audrey Kim, a Salt Lake City teen set to make her second Worlds appearance this summer and earning a silver medal on the mixed 400 free relay in Madeira.
Three women — Olivia Chambers, Christie Raleigh Crossley, and Hannah Nelson — will be making their Worlds debuts for Team USA. Raleigh Crossley is coming off an impressive world record in the women’s 50 back S9 at the world series meet in Italy while Nelson will be making her first international appearance for Team USA.
One-third of America’s six-man roster has never been to Worlds before. Lawrence Sapp, the 2019 silver medalist in the 100 fly, returns along with Jamal Hill and Matthew Torres, who each collected a pair of silvers in Madeira. 2022 Worlds silver medalist Morgan Ray brings experience as well as a hot streak after breaking the American record in the 100 breast in Minneapolis last weekend.
The new members of the men’s group are Paralympic silver medalist David Abrahams, who will be making his first major international appearance since Tokyo due to injury, and Noah Jaffe, who was one of four Americans to compete in last summer’s Duel in the Pool as part of America’s inaugural para team along with Coan, Hill, and Smith.
2023 U.S. Paralympics Swimming World Championships Team
- Hannah Aspden
- Olivia Chambers
- McKenzie Coan
- Julia Gaffney
- McClain Hermes
- Mikaela Jenkins
- Audrey Kim
- Ahalya Lettenberger
- Jessica Long
- Elizabeth Marks
- Hannah Nelson
- Christie Raleigh Crossley
- Leanne Smith
- Lizzi Smith
- Morgan Stickney
- Colleen Young
The men’s team is always way smaller than the women’s team.
no Knott on the women’s side is a huge miss for team USA
As one of her teammates I definitely agree! We are taking 3 S9 girls already, but Keegan stands out as a 400 freestyler, whereas the other 9’s swim fly, back, and sprint free. Shame.
Any explanation about why only 6 men?
Selection procedures are based on percentages of 3rd in the world rankings. American men are weaker compared to the rest of the world and have been for the past several years at this point. A shame for a country that is so dominant in able bodied swimming.
Yeah mens squad looks a bit weak
All 6 are strong medal or multi-medal contenders, so I wouldn’t call that weak. Periphery national team members have the opportunity to crush the medal tally at ParaPan Ams, which is why a smaller squad was selected this year (US athletes can only attend one or the other). I encourage everyone to look further into para swimming because this is an extraordinary group of athletes.
Being a small group does not equate to the team being WEAK. Every one of them is a medal contender.