2019 Pan American Games Swimming: Argentina Has Big Morning; Abruzzo, Lazor Get Top Seeds

Delfina Pignatiello is the top seed in the women's 400 free. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The first full morning of the 2019 Pan American Games had six total events on Tuesday at Lima, Peru. Argentina had a good morning that started with Delfina Pignatiello getting the 400 free top seed and then continued with Julia Sebastian setting the South American record in the 100 breast. Argentina only has one medal in the 400 free with a gold from Ana Maria Schultz in 1951 so Pignatiello has a chance to make history.

Argentina’s momentum continued with Virginia Bardach getting the 200 fly top seed as she has a chance to win Argentina’s first medal in that event since 1995.

USA’s Andrew Abruzzo and Annie Lazor picked up top seeds in their respective events as they will be looking to pick up momentum heading into next year.

Brazil’s Joao Gomes and Leonardo de Deus also will be looking to continue Brazil’s winning streaks in their respective events.

Women’s 400 Free

Argentina’s Delfina Pignatiello put up the top time in the heats of the women’s 400 free on Tuesday morning at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Pignatiello did not swim at the World Championships two weeks ago to focus on the Pan Ams and she took care of business with a 4:12.23 heats swim in the 400 free. She had a nice race with Canada’s Aly Ackman, who swam collegiately at Penn State. Ackman will have the second seed tonight at 4:12.42.

Argentina only has one medal in the 400 free at Pan Ams with a gold from Ana Maria Schultz in 1951 so Pignatiello has a chance to make history.

Canada’s Danica Ludlow (4:12.66) will be seeded third for the final as she won the first heat of the Games.

Both of the Americans advanced to the final with Mariah Denigan (4:14.49) and Becca Mann (4:15.69) placing fifth and seventh respectively. The Americans won every single gold medal in this event at the Pan American Games from 1959-2011 before Canada’s Emily Overholt broke that streak in 2015. Overholt holds the Games record at 4:08.42.

Brazil’s Aline Da Silva Rodrigues (4:14.15), Mexico’s Allyson Macias (4:15.28) and Brazil’s Viviane Eichelberger (4:16.79) also advanced to the final.


  1. 4:12.23, Delfina Pignatiello, ARG
  2. 4:12.42, Aly Ackman, CAN
  3. 4:12.66, Danica Ludlow, CAN
  4. 4:14.15, Aline Da Silva Rodrigues, BRA
  5. 4:14.49, Mariah Denigan, USA
  6. 4:15.28, Allyson Macias, MEX
  7. 4:15.69, Becca Mann, USA
  8. 4:16.79, Viviane Eichelberger, BRA

Men’s 400 Free

USA’s Andrew Abruzzo swam the fastest 400 free prelims time on Tuesday morning at the 2019 Pan American Games with a 3:49.46. Abruzzo was the only swimmer to break 3:50 in the heats as he is not far off of the Games record of 3:48.29 that Ryan Cochrane set in 2015. Abruzzo is now ranked 38th in the world with that swim this morning and is the fourth fastest American this year.

USA’s Chris Wieser is the second seed for the final at 3:50.23 and also moved up to 44th in the world with his swim. Abruzzo and Wieser will have the middle two lanes tonight in the final with Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer (3:50.80) getting the third spot.

A few international NCAA student athletes qualified for the final with El Salvador’s Marcelo Acosta (3:52.17), Colombia’s Santiago Corredor (3:54.03), Mexico’s Ricardo Vargas (3:54.12) and Venezuela’s Rafael Davila (3:55.58) qualifying in fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth. Acosta swam at Louisville, Corredor swims for Florida, Vargas swims for Michigan and Davila is at South Carolina.

Brazil’s Luiz Melo (3:53.87) also qualified for the final.


  1. 3:49.46, Andrew Abruzzo, USA
  2. 3:50.23, Chris Wieser, USA
  3. 3:50.80, Fernando Scheffer, BRA
  4. 3:52.17, Marcelo Acosta, ESA
  5. 3:53.87, Luiz Melo, BRA
  6. 3:54.03, Santiago Corredor, COL
  7. 3:54.12, Ricardo Vargas, MEX
  8. 3:55.58, Rafael Davila, VEN

Women’s 100 Breast

USA’s Annie Lazor, who has had an incredible 2019, cruised to the top seed in the 100 breast heats on Tuesday morning at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima. Lazor was a 1:06.79 which was off her season best of 1:06.03 from May. Lazor will have a chance to chase the Pan American Games record of 1:05.64 that Katie Meili set in 2015. The Americans have won six of the last seven gold medals in this event at the Pan Ams.

Argentina’s Julia Sebastian swam a 1:06.98 for the second seed as she moved up to 18th in the world this year. Argentina has never medalled in the women’s 100 breast at the Pan American Games.  Sebastian also broke the South American record.

USA’s Molly Hannis also qualified for the final with a 1:07.59. She was quicker earlier this year with a 1:07.26 in May but she will have a chance to go faster tonight. Hannis is the sixth fastest American this year.

A couple NCAA swimmers also advanced to the final with Mexico’s Melissa Rodriguez (1:08.30) and Esther Gonzalez Medina (1:10.22). Rodriguez swam at Penn State while Gonzalez Medina swam at Texas A&M. Canada’s Faith Knelson (1:08.47) also advanced to the final as she will be a freshman at the University of Arizona this fall.

Brazil’s Jhennifer Conceicao (1:08.37) and Venezuela’s Mercedes Toledo (1:09.74) also advanced to the final.


  1. 1:06.79, Annie Lazor, USA
  2. 1:06.98, Julia Sebastian, ARG
  3. 1:07.59, Molly Hannis, USA
  4. 1:08.30, Melissa Rodriguez, MEX
  5. 1:08.37, Jhennifer Conceicao, BRA
  6. 1:08.47, Faith Knelson, CAN
  7. 1:09.74, Mercedes Toledo, VEN
  8. 1:10.22, Esther Gonzalez Medina, MEX

Men’s 100 Breast

Brazil’s duo of Joao Gomes (59.57) and Felipe Lima (59.91) were the only swimmers to break 1:00 in the 100 breaststroke heats as Gomes was within striking distance of the Games record set by Felipe Franca (59.21) from 2015. Gomes was a 59.25 at World Championships where he did not make it out of the semifinals. The time for Lima was also slower than his season best of 59.56 but it was faster than what he swam at World Championships. Lima was a 1:00.00 at Worlds and did not make it out of the heats.

Brazil has won two straight gold medals in this event at the Pan American Games since Franca won in 2011 and 2015.

USA’s Cody Miller (1:00.28) and Kevin Cordes (1:00.58) both cruised in the heats to get the third and fourth spots. Miller was the second fastest American this year with a 59.24 from May so he will be looking to crack the top 10 in the world to gain some momentum heading into the Olympic year. Anton Chupkov is currently 10th in the world at 59.15. The Americans have a glaring weakness in the men’s breaststroke events since they only had Andrew Wilson make both finals at Worlds. Miller and Cordes will be looking to answer that call heading into next year.

Colombia’s Jorge Murillo (1:01.03), Mexico’s Miguel de Lara Ojeda (1:01.04) and Uruguay’s Martin Melconian Alvez (1:01.89) also advanced to tonight’s final. Murillo went faster than he did at the World Championships.

Mexico’s Mauro Castillo Luna, who also swam at Texas A&M, qualified for the final in seventh position at 1:01.77.


  1. 59.57, Joao Gomes, BRA
  2. 59.91, Felipe Lima, BRA
  3. 1:00.28, Cody Miller, USA
  4. 1:00.58, Kevin Cordes, USA
  5. 1:01.03, Jorge Murillo, COL
  6. 1:01.04, Miguel de Lara Ojeda, MEX
  7. 1:01.77, Mauro Castillo, MEX
  8. 1:01.89, Martin Melconian Alvez, URU

Women’s 200 Fly

Argentina has had a tremendous start to their swimming campaign at the Pan American Games. Delfina Pignatiello has the 400 free top seed and Julia Sebastian broke a South American record in the 100 breast. Virginia Bardach put up the top time in the 200 fly heats on Tuesday morning in Lima with a 2:11.37. Bardach did not swim at the World Championships so this is her focus meet of the summer. She is the top seed ahead of USA’s Sarah Gibson (2:11.78).

It wasn’t a particularly fast heats session since Bardach did not move up into the top 50 in the world.

Argentina only has one medal in this event at the Pan American Games with a bronze from Maria Pereyra in 1995. Bardach will be chasing the Games record of 2:07.64 that was set in 2007 by Kathleen Hersey.

The other American to qualify for the final was Tennessee senior Meghan Small (2:14.04), who qualified in seventh place. Small’s best time is a 2:11 from last year’s US Nationals.

Mexico’s Diana Luna Sanchez (2:12.67) and Maria Mata Cocco (2:12.88) also advanced to the final. Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey (2:12.67) and Danielle Hanus (2:13.26) also advanced as well as Duke grad Isabella Paez (2:14.10) of Venezuela.


  1. 2:11.37, Virginia Bardach, ARG
  2. 2:11.78, Sarah Gibson, USA
  3. 2:12.67, Diana Luna Sanchez, MEX
  4. 2:12.67, Mary-Sophie Harvey, CAN
  5. 2:12.88, Maria Mata Cocco, MEX
  6. 2:13.26, Danielle Hanus, CAN
  7. 2:14.04, Meghan Small, USA
  8. 2:14.10, Isabella Paez, VEN

Men’s 200 Fly

Colombia’s Jonathan Gomez had the fastest time of the morning in the men’s 200 fly on Tuesday morning at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Gomez did not get into the top 50 in the world for 2019 but it is a season best for him since he did not swim at the World Championships. He is seeded ahead of USA’s Sam Pomajevich (1:58.19), who was a 1:56 last year. Pomajevich will be a junior at the University of Texas and will be looking to win USA’s first gold medal in this event at Pan Ams since 2003.

Brazil has won three straight gold medals in this event at Pan Ams and Luiz Melo (1:58.76) will have a chance to continue that streak. However, he will have his hands full with Leonardo de Deus (2:00.00), who won the last two Pan Am titles. De Deus and Melo both swam this event at the World Championships with de Deus placing seventh and Melo placing 13th.

USA’s Tom Shields will also have a chance at a medal in the final as he is the fourth seed for tonight. Shields had the fastest first 150 meters this morning with a 1:25.20 but split a 33.62 on the final 50. Shields’ best time is a 1:55.09 from 2014, which is right on the Games record of 1:55.01 from de Deus set in 2015.


  1. 1:57.24, Jonathan Gomez, COL
  2. 1:58.19, Sam Pomajevich, USA
  3. 1:58.76, Luiz Melo, BRA
  4. 1:58.82, Tom Shields, USA
  5. 2:00.00, Leonardo de Deus, BRA
  6. 2:00.31, Hector Ruvalcaba, MEX
  7. 2:00.37, Nicolas Deferrari, ARG
  8. 2:00.73, Jose Martinez, MEX


  1. Patsy Patterson Martin

    America is losing , we were the best and now we are nothing. We no longer teach all young children to swim. What a shame. First aide and water safety was a by word for American Red Cross. But I guess the Big Money got in and that was that.

    • avatar

      You can hardly be paying attention to what has happened all summer! The best American swimmers represented the USA with record breaking times at the World Championships in Korea and the US Nationals. Our top USA swimmers are not in Peru for the PAN PACS! It gives travel/racing experience to some of our less experienced swimmers and a chance at champs for those close to Olympic Trials or those contemplating retirement. Notice many of those competing did not compete at World’s where they would not have had a chance, but at Pan Pacs can make their mark. Read up before you make such uninformed statements, please!

    • Darrell Reed

      Patsy Patterson Martin What exactly are you trying to say? There are about a zillion more opportunities for kids to learn to swim now than 50+ years ago when I learned. This is still the greatest country on the planet, bar NONE!

      • avatar

        Darrell I have to disagree there aren’t a zillion more opportunities for kids to learn how to swim. I grew up in Spanish Harlem NYC and as a kid I learned how to swim at the Boys Club of NYC, and the NYC schools and Department of Parks Rec Centers with pools that were fortunate enough to have a swimming pool offered programs where kids both advantaged and disadvantaged could of gone to learn how to swim. Maintaining a swimming pool is expensive and due to “budget constraints” along changes in “priorities I have found that those places have seemed to have gone by the way side. There are less places where people can go to swim, that is unless one has the money. After I earned how to swim, I found that I wanted to compete. I was fortunate back then there still were places where an unprivileged kid could go, join a team, train and compete. As I progressed and competed against better swimmers I began to realize just how much of a socio-economic sport swimming really was. My Mother who was a single mom of four, factory worker couldn’t move me cross country so that I could train with the likes of a George Hanes, nor could she afford to send me to expensive swim camps, but I muddled through became a decent swimmer for NYC and the times, so thank you coach Dominic and Pete at Thomas Jefferson Boys Club, thank you Coach Robert Popish Wagner Center Swim Club, Coaches Marcy Rodriguez and Doug Stern at St. Mary’s Recreational Center, Coach Bob Bazzini James Monroe H.S, Bronx N.Y. I quit competing Sophomore year of college due to family constraints, I later did some Masters swimming but found that there weren’t many places/programs where an old timer like me could go and train unless I could travel and wanted to again pay again “the money”.

  2. Darrell Reed

    Go USA! Go Dawgs!!!! ❤️🖤