Alexandra Crisera of Manhattan Beach, who swims for Bay Cities Swimming and Mira Costa High School, has been selected to represent the USA Team at the Mel Zajac Invitational Meet in Vancouver, British Columbia from May 24-26.

The United States swimmers were selected based on their world ranking and are eligible if they have not yet represented the United States.

Crisera was selected to represent the US based on her performance last summer.

"I am both humbled and excited to represent the United States at the Mel Zajac Meet,” Crisera said. “It will be a dream come true to be wearing the USA flag on my cap in competition and will do my very best to represent our country's junior team."

Last September, Crisera was named to the 2018-19 USA Swimming National Junior Team. All those named are 18 years of age or under. She was one of 67 selected. Now she gets to be a part of the competition for the first time.

“We are extremely proud to have Alex represent Beach Cities Swimming and Team USA as a member of the 2018-19 National Junior Team,” said Monique Shelton, head coach of Beach Cities Swimming and Crisera’s coach. “This honor reflects the countless hours of training, dedication and sacrifice she has put into training over the years.”

The Mel Zajac Meet will hopefully be a steppingstone to more events for Crisera.

“This also puts her one step closer to her goal of representing the U.S. at an international meet,” Shelton said. “Alex had an incredible summer and that is what helped her earn this spot.  Making finals at Nationals and becoming a Junior National champion in two events lifted her to this honor.”

Crisera swims with Bay Cities Swimming the whole year.

Shelton will make the trip along with Crisera. She was selected as a coach for the event.

“This group of National Junior Team honorees, plus the 21 high schoolers who qualified for the 2018-19 National Team, is a testament to the incredible dedication and work being done at the club level around the United States,” said USA Swimming National Junior Team Director Mitch Dalton after the team was picked last September. “With two years to go until the 2020 Olympic Games, USA Swimming and its supporters can be very excited about the depth and talent with the junior ranks.”

During her recent spring break, Crisera headed to Colorado Springs for training with the USA Swimming National Junior Team.

Besides work in the pool once or twice a day and strength training, Crisera and the other swimmers engaged in team-building activities and attended classes/lectures on such subjects as stroke technique, nutrition and food preparation, vitamins and supplements.

She spoke about her experience there.

"The training camp was by far the most physically taxing training sessions that I have ever done.  The sets were longer, intervals shorter and all while at altitude.  It was an amazing experience to be able to train alongside so many of the top swimmers in the country and I was really pushed outside of my comfort zone daily.”

The training was very beneficial.

“I was surprised to see what I was able to do in that environment.  The coaches and swimmers were so enthusiastic and supportive and the energy around Team USA was contagious.  It was such an exhausting and fun experience.”

She added, “I am looking forward to bringing some of that energy back to my teammates at Beach Cities Swimming."

The past year has been big for Crisera, who will swim for Stanford in the fall. The university, is a NCAA powerhouse in women’s swimming, having won the Division title for the past three years.

Crisera will be swimming under coaches Greg Meehan and Tracy Slusser. 

Meehan, who is the Stanford women's swimming head coach, was recently named as the women's head coach for the 2020 USA Olympic Team. 

The coach also trains some of the top elite women including Katie Ledecky and Simone Manual.

"The amazing academic opportunities combined with a top-notch swim team and coaches made my decision to attend Stanford fairly easy,” Crisera said. “When I went to visit, the swimmers and coaches were so open and inviting.  The team is really close-knit and supportive of each other, both off and on deck.”

“I am excited to be a part of it and nervous to start swimming there as I will be swimming with so many world-class swimmers every day.  But, I know I can continue to grow and thrive in that type of environment and with that training."

Crisera, who is a senior at Mira Costa, placed first at CIF-Southern Section Division 2 championships in the 100 freestyle and second in the 100 backstroke last year. At that meet, she broke the CIF-SS Division 2 record in the 100 backstroke and the 50 freestyle (leading off the 4x50 freestyle relay). 

Most recently, she competed at the Speedo Junior National Championships in Irvine and placed first in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and second in the 50 freestyle.

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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