Special Sets: A Look At the Training Of Teen Standout Erika Pelaez, An N.C. State Recruit

Erika Pelaez 2

Special Sets: A Look At the Training Of Teen Standout Erika Pelaez, An N.C. State Recruit

Erika Pelaez has been on the U.S. aquatic radar for more than three years ever since gaining her first Olympic Trials cut at age 13. She is a 5-9, 140-pound junior at Eagle Aquatics in Hialeah, Fla., a two-time National Junior Team member and CollegeSwimming.com’s No. 1-rated female Florida and national recruit for the Class of 2024. In 18 months, she will take her considerable talents to North Carolina State.

Primarily a free/fly/back specialist, Pelaez currently has 10 U.S. summer national cuts. At the Olympic Trials in 2021, when 14, she swam three events, clocking 25.29 in the 50-meter free, 56.03 in the 100 free and 1:02.65 in the 100 back.

Last fall, Pelaez won three more state championships for her fourth-place South Florida Heat, a home education athletic team. Those wins and state records came in the 100-yard fly (52.12), 100 back (52.30) and 100 free (48.08), leading off the victorious 400 free relay to bring her high school total to eight individual wins.

Erika Pelaez 1

Photo Courtesy: Adam Madarassy

On the larger stage, Pelaez has shone brightly as well. At the 2022 Winter Juniors East, she swam a 21.91 to take second place in the girls’ 50 yard freestyle and become history’s fourth-fastest performer in the 15-16 age group behind Claire Curzan (21.50), Alex Shackell (21.73) and Gretchen Walsh (21.82). Last summer at the long course Phillips 66 National Championships, she clocked personal bests and finaled in five events:

• 50 free: 10th (25.31)
• 100 free: 7th (54.65)
• 100 back: 6th (1:00.33)
(In March, she went 1:00.12 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Fort Lauderdale)
• 200 back: 19th (2:13.0)
• 100 fly: 10th (59.23)

A swimmer since age 4, Pelaez early on grasped the essentials required to perform at an elite level. Says her Eagle coach Adam Madarassy: “Erika has always been a very determined, hard-working and consistent athlete who never misses practice. She is super competitive and doesn’t like to lose, which pushes her to be better every day. She knows her goals, what it takes to get there, and she’s willing to put in the work.

“I’m super proud of all the hard work and sacrifices she has made over the years. It’s been an honor being part of it. Of course, having a full parental support behind her has been an important element of her journey, too.”

Pelaez Train 1

Pelaez Train 2


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