Cary Swimmer and Other Local Athletes Head to the Olympics

Bruce Marchionda, head coach of the TAC Titans, poses with Claire Curzan. The 16-year-old swimmer from Cary qualified for the U.S. Olympic team on June 14.

With several local athletes headed to the Olympics, the Triangle will be well represented in Tokyo next month. Last week, 16-year-old Cary resident Claire Curzan qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in the women’s 100 butterfly. She will join local Duke graduate Ashley Twichell who qualified on open water earlier this year.

Both athletes train at the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) as a part of the TAC TITANS, a professionally run year-round USA Swim team. The swimmers are coached by a handful of talent, including Bruce Marchionda, who has previously trained Olympians, and Claire Donahue, a London 2012 Olympic medalist. At 16, Curzan will be one of the youngest athletes at the Olympics this summer, and she’s ready for the challenge.

“I always had the wild, childhood dream of going to the Olympics and representing Team USA on the biggest stage since I began to swim,” said Curzan. “I started to become serious about trying to make the team before the 2020 US Trials, and after the postponement really dialed in to train for Tokyo 2021.”

Ashley Twichell

A monumental moment was last April when Curzan swam a 56.20 at a meet in her home pool at TAC. Her hard work paid off as she set a U.S. Open Record that day for the 100-meter butterfly.

Curzan joins fellow TAC TITANS teammate Ashley Twichell on the journey to Tokyo. Twitchell, who holds five Open Water World Championship medals, swam in the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic Trials. She will be competing in the trials in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle.

Curzan and Twichell will have local company on the trip to the Olympics, including Katie Zaferes, local Cary resident and world-class triathlete. Zaferes, who also trains at TAC, joins the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team in her second Olympics. Read more about Zaferes in the June/July issue.

Another Olympic bound athlete is Nikita Ducarroz, international BMX star. Although she’ll be riding with the Swiss Olympic Team this summer, she lives in Holly Springs and trains at the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. Check out the Q & A with Ducarroz in the June/July issue of Main & Broad.

After a year of delays and event cancellations, qualifying for the Olympic Team is a monumental accomplishment. As Curzan said when she was asked about the mantra she uses before she competes, “I always tell myself to finish strong and leave it all out in the pool. No regrets.”

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