ASU Commit Ilya Kharun of Sandpipers Crushes Junior National 7.5k

2022 US Open Water Junior National Championships

The water was a bit calmer on Sunday morning at Fort Myers Beach as 16-year-old Ilya Kharun dominated the Junior National 7.5k race and led a 1-2 finish for the Sandpipers of Nevada that was completed by 15-year-old Luke Ellis.

2022 Open Water Junior Nationals 7.5k – Top 3 Finishers

Ilya Kharun (SAND)
Luke Ellis (SAND)
Alex Ayers (SwimMAC)

The top 8 finishers (unofficially, per USA Swimming’s live stream) are:

Ilya Kharun (SAND)
Luke Ellis (SAND)
Alex Ayers (SwimMAC)
Weslee Gettys (Texas Gold)
Luke Whitlock (Fishers Area)
Robert Dinunzio (TIDE)
Dillon Wright (SAND)
Ryan Turner (Highlander)

The race immediately spread out as a lead pack of three swimmers formed. By the third of five laps this front pack consisted of ASU commit Kharun, 16-year-old Matt Marsteiner of New Wave in 2nd place and 15-year-old Weslee Gettys of Texas Gold in 3rd place. 

Kharun’s 100-yard-lead dipped to about 60 yards by the end of lap three where Gettys was in 2nd place and 16-year-old Alex Ayers of SwimMAC Carolina made a move to get into 3rd place. But, Kharun’s lead grew to about 1 minute and 15 seconds on the 4th lap. There was a core group of four boys chasing him at this point – Ayers, Ellis, Gettys, and Luke Whitlock of Fishers Area Swim Team.

Gettys and Whitlock were going back-and-forth for 4th place as were Marsteiner and TIDE’s Robert Dinunzio for 6th place.

This meet serves as a selection process for the 2022 U.S. Open Water National Junior Team and the 2022 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships Team. First place in the Junior National 7.5k earns a spot on the National Junior team while the top two male and female finishers in the 16-17 age group qualify for the World Junior team roster, according to USA Swimming.

Kharun’s 7.5k win qualifies him for both the National Junior Team and World Junior Team while the second spot on the FINA World Junior Team goes to Ellis who will turn 16 before the end of the year.

The full, official results will be added to this article once they are published.

It was slightly cooler and less windy on Sunday than the previous days of competition in Fort Myers with a high temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, 68% humidity, and 9 mile-per-hour winds.

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