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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GW swimmers compete in Olympic trials, European championships

Sydney Walsh | Senior Staff Photographer
Swimmers dive into the pool during a match in March.

Five current and former GW swimmers competed this week in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the European Aquatic Championships in hopes of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics.

Incoming seniors Connor Rodgers and Ava DeAngelis, as well as rising junior Ava Topolewski swam at the U.S. trials held in Indianapolis, where the American squad was cemented. The top five finishers all swam under the Olympic qualifying time of 51.67, earning them spots in the games.

Team USA won the most swim medals at the 2020 Olympics with 30, besting second-place Australia by 10.

Topolewski competed in the 1500-meter freestyle, where she placed 28th with a time of 16:50.14. Katie Ledecky, who holds the 18 all-time fastest times in the 1500, came in first in the finals with a time of 15:37.35, setting a new world record by 17 seconds and besting the second-place finisher by over 20 seconds.

This year, Topolewski broke the Atlantic-10 record in the 1650-yard freestyle with a 16:08.48 time, earning her a trip to the NCAA championships in March. She will compete in the 800-meter freestyle on Friday, with finals set for Saturday.

DeAngelis swam in the 100-meter breaststroke, where she finished 28th out of 72 swimmers with a time of 1:09.94. Lilly King came in first in both the prelims and the finals, swimming a 1:06:05 in the former. DeAngelis also competed at the NCAA championships in March, where she placed 45th in the 200-yard breaststroke. 

DeAngelis announced her commitment last month to transfer to swim at Ohio State University for her senior year. Swim blogging site SwimSwam reported that Topolweski had also entered the transfer portal, but subsequently decided to return to GW. 

Rodgers, the A-10’s 2024 Co-Most Outstanding Performer of the Year, swam in the 200-meter individual medley, where he was disqualified. He had raced a time of 2:02:36, which was good for first in his heat, but was disqualified for a non-simultaneous touch at the end of his butterfly leg. 

2023-24 redshirt senior Djurdje Matic and incoming junior Toni Dragoja represented their home countries at the 2024 European Aquatic Championships held in Matic’s hometown of Belgrade, Serbia.

Matic swam in the 50-meter butterfly, where he earned a spot in the semi-finals after an 11th place, 23.63-timed first heat. In the semis, he improved on his time to finish in 23.60, placing him no. 13 overall. 

Matic, who holds the A-10 record in the 100-yard butterfly, placed 14th at the NCAA Championships in March, giving him All-American honors. Matic also swam in the 100-meter butterfly, where a 52.69 time qualified him to swim in the semifinals. A 52.85 time in the semifinals placed Matic at 16th.

Matic will swim on Sunday, the final day of the championship, in the 4×100 medley relay. Dragoja, a Croatian native, also is competing in three events, the 100 and 50-meter freestyles as well as the 4×100 freestyle relay.

In the 100-meter freestyle, Dragoja, who is transferring to swim for the University of Alabama this coming season, swam a 49.52 to earn 30th place. He will swim in the 50-meter race on Saturday.

Racing in the 4×100 relay, Dragoja and Croatia finished in fourth place with a time of 3:13.91. They finished just 0.18 seconds behind Greece, who had earned a spot in the Olympics with their finishes at the 2023 and 2024 World Championships. 

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