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Jordan Wilimovsky: Not even the hurricane can stop him

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Photo: fina.org

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Jordan Wilimovsky is a really big fighter: he failed a swim test required for attendance in a lifeguard camp at age 9, and competed in his first open water competition with a hurricane passing, but he has still become one of the best long-distance swimmers in recent years. He is the reigning champion in the 10km event at the FINA World Championships.

It can be a really bad feeling to fail a swim test required for a lifeguard camp for a Malibu-born boy, but that’s exactly what happened to Jordan Wilimovsky at age 9. The little Jordan was so desperate that he asked her mother if he could join the local swimming club.

Wilimovsky later became a great swimmer, winning many competitions at school. He began open water swimming at high school, but his first ever open water competition almost turned into a nightmare: a hurricane was passing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, the venue of the event, so her mother was convinced he would never come out of the water and that he would never ever want to swim again. Two days later, however, Wilimovsky entered another race

The big breakthrough came at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan when he surprisingly won the 10km competiton by a margin of 12.1 seconds over silver medallist Dutchman Ferry Weertman. That meant he qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Wilimovsky got a couple of different awards in 2015: he was named Breakout Performer of the Year and won the Male Race of the Year award at USA Swimming's 2015 Golden Goggle Awards. The Race of the Year was awarded for the 10km at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. He was named USA Swimming's 2015 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year.

He decided to redshirt the 2015/16 college season with Northwestern University so he could fully focus on his preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "Getting the chance to swim in the Olympics is what keeps me motivated. It's such an awesome opportunity." – he said to insidenu.com.

After competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the 1500m swimming event in the pool and the 10km open water event he became the first US swimmer to compete in both the pool and open water at the same Olympic Games.

"It is a huge honour. Anytime you can represent the US in multiple events is really cool." – he said to Santa Monica Daily Press.

Wilimovsky’s main event, the 10km race will be held on 18 July in Balatonfüred at the 2017 FINA World Championships.

JORDAN WILIMOVSKY

Born: Malibu (USA), 22 April, 1994

Medal record:

World champion (2015 Kazan, 10 km)