Sun Valley 5B Swim Team’s high-point scorer Maddie Johnson competed April 24-26 at the USA Swimming Grand Prix Series held in Mesa, Az.
Johnson, 15, a Wood River High School sophomore, qualified for the elite meet of 600 top swimming champions which included 27 U.S. Olympians and members of U.S.A. sanctioned programs, college and international teams.
In the high-octane field were Olympians Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Natalie Coughlin. Phelps, who retired following the London Olympic Games, made international news during the Mesa Grand Prix by announcing his return to swim competition with a focus towards the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.
SV5B coach Brian Gallagher accompanied Johnson to Arizona.
Johnson competed in six events. They were women’s 100 freestyle, 100 and 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke and the 200 and 400 Individual Medley.
She posted personal-best times in 100 free, 100 fly, 200 backstroke and 400 I.M. She qualifying for two final events, the 200 fly and 400 I.M.
Gallagher noted, “It was a pretty exciting three days and a thrill for Maddie to train and compete with such well-known swim champions. It was inspirational for me to see her among such a level of talent, but she deserved to be there…she is very dedicated.”
Gallagher trains the 5B squad weekdays at the Ketchum Y Pool during the school year. On June 7 the team resumes longer morning practices at Elkhorn’s Harker Center.