McEnroe Swims on National Platform

USA Swimming National Select Camp hosts elite teen swimmers


Photo courtesy K. McEnroe

Kirsti McEnroe poses with other swimmers at the National Select Swimming camp.

Sarah McMeekin, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

Imagine the fastest swimmers in the country, all gathered in one place to advance their already distinguished swimming skills and knowledge. This became a reality for Kirsti McEnroe (12) who was invited to attend the USA Swimming National Select Camp in Chula Vista, California, this Oct. The National Select Camp spans three days from Oct. 7-10, where up-and- coming swimmers learn from professionals about race strategy, post-race recovery, phycological training skills and nutrition. 

McEnroe received many benefits from her experience at the National Select Camp. 

“I would describe my experience at the National Select Camp as challenging, inspiring, and motivating,” McEnroe said. “I feel like this camp has helped me gain a greater understanding of how to become a better athlete, teammate, and leader.” 

Swimmers are selected for the camp by achieving the top three fastest times in each competition category. McEnroe’s 2:03 200-meter free style earned her an invitation. Additionally, qualifiers had to be ages 14 to 17 and achieve a top time during the Jan. 2019 to Aug. 2020 qualifying period.  

Johnna Freestone has coached McEnroe during her impressive six-year swimming career.  

“I was extremely proud and blown away by her being selected, and I was so excited about what attending this camp would do to increase her future swimming successes,” Freestone said. “We are so proud of Kirsti and her contributions to the team in her six years of participating and lettering, and we are excited to see what her future has in store!” 

USA Swimming has been the governing body of the swimming community since 1978. The organization began with the passage of the Amateur Sports Act, which specified that all Olympic sports must be administered independently. Responsible for over 350,000 swimmers, according to, the program formulates the rules, implements policies and conduct and selects athletes to represent the USA at international and national competitions. 

The National Select Camp is a tier above USA Swimming’s local select camps and zone select camps. Local select camps are designed by a smaller swimming community with support from USA Swimming and require an application to be implemented. Zone Select Camps take an approach similar to the national select camp, with the best swimmers in a region receiving an invitation. McEnroe was aware of the National Select Camp by previously participating in a Zone Select Camp. The goal of these camps is to generate local unity, increase athlete retention within the sport and provide an opportunity for athletic education.  

However, with COVID-19 restrictions came changes to the traditional structure of USA Swimming camps. The National Select Camp had originally been planned for Jan. 2021 to align with the Olympic year but was postponed to Oct. 2021. The Zone Select Workshop and Regional Diversity Workshop have replaced Zone Select Camps, which have all been cancelled for 2021. These workshops are planned to be held in-person in June and swimmers ages 11 to 14 will be selected through application with a time standard maintained.  

Mariejo Truex is the senior director of education and programs for USA Swimming. In an article with Swimming World Magazine, he shares his excitement for the unique experience of USA National Select Camps.  

“These camps will bring together our best up-and-coming athletes from across the United States in a state-of-the-art facility in California, where they will be able to connect with other swimmers who are navigating the sport in a way they can relate to,” Truex said. “These camps will help provide the tools and experience for these athletes to continue the upward trajectory of their impressive swimming careers.”