JPAG Countdown At Two Weeks

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The junior national team is hard at work in Los Angeles, Calif. refining their routines in preparation for the Junior Pan American Games (JPAG). The squad will head south on Nov. 28th to compete in Cali, Colombia against other Pan American nations in the mixed duet, duet, team and highlight disciplines of artistic swimming including Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and more.  

The junior athletes have been taking advantage of their new home on UCLA’s campus in Los Angeles, Calif. The athletes made the move from northern California early in the summer and have been enjoying the energy and the facilities their new city has to offer ever since. The team is now supported by partnerships with the RISE Gym to work on acrobatics, a Crossfit facility to improve athleticism and explosiveness and UCLA’s campus to practice on land and in water.  
Under the direction of Anna Voloshyna and Lara Teixeria, the team has seen incredible improvement. Ludi Perrin-Stsepaniuk has also been working with the athletes and sharing her extensive knowledge, as she will be the coach that travels with them to Colombia. The athletes took a trek to Ludi’s home of Las Vegas for a training camp and change of scenery in October to finalize the roster and she has visited Los Angeles several times since.  

Countries historically strong in artistic swimming within the Pan American nations include Canada, Mexico and the United States. While Canada will not be sending any athletes, the match-up between the U.S. and Mexico will certainly be an exciting one. The junior squads from both nations met at the UANA Youth and Junior International Open hosted a few months ago in Florida and competition was extremely close. The U.S. duet of Megumi Field and Anya Melson, who trained with the senior national team during the pandemic and will compete the same routines as the 2020 Olympic representatives, topped the Mexican duet of Fernanda Arellano and Itzamary Gonzalez at this competition by .2581. Field and Melson did not compete in the free portion of the duet competition at this event, but Arellano and Gonzalez scored a strong 79.6917 to take the gold.  
The team scores can be taken with a grain of salt, as the U.S. has seen a few roster movements between the roster in Florida and for JPAG. The changes in the start lists now allow the team to be represented by the eight strongest junior athletes in the country. Still, in Florida, both countries put on incredible displays of PanAm junior talent. Mexico edged USA by a miraculously small margin of .0018. The US was the only country to compete a junior mixed duet in-person at the Florida event. Kenny Gaudet and Ivy Davis will once again represent the stars and stripes in mixed duet in Colombia and continue to improve their partnership and scores. The US was also the lone in-person highlight competitor, but produced a strong Elvis-themed performance. 

The juniors are really focused on the Junior Pan American Games. It was a big challenge to get them ready to compete together within the short period of time but the athletes have risen to the occasion and shown they have a strong, driven mindset. They are pumped to be competing in Colombia in the inaugural event. We have high expectations for this group and we know they can achieve great things,” said Teixeira, High Performance Manager and Assistant Coach, said.  

Ludi, who will lead the team in Colombia, echoed similar excitement: “I’m very excited to now be with the team full-time until we depart for Colombia. Their strength is their passion and joy to be representing USA and they are very motivated to show everyone seven incredible routines. The athletes are a pleasure to coach and we are looking forward to the experience."


The Pan American Games are the most important multi-sport event in America. They have been held every four years since 1957 and Cali hosted the VI version of them in 1971. The Junior version was born from these Games and will be held for the first time in 2021 in Cali and Valle del Cauca. The objective of this dream is to promote the new generations of athletes, as well as to make new talents visible and support the development of sports in the junior categories through their participation in high level events. 
Stay up-to-date by following updates on our website and social media for more information as JPAG approaches. The duet, mixed duet and team technical competition will kick off on December 2nd. Mixed duet and team free will take place December 3rd followed by free duet and highlight on December 4th. The event will be streamed on the Pan Am Games Sports Channel. 

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