Juneau swimmer qualifies for U.S. Olympic trials

By Jasz Garrett

The 2024 Speedo Sectionals event scoreboard for the winning time of Glacier Swim Club’s PJ Foy. (Photo courtesy GSC)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Thunder Mountain High school senior PJ Foy is the 13th Alaskan in history to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials. He met the qualifying time in the 100-meter butterfly on March 16 at the Northwest Spring Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington.

The Olympic Trials qualifying time is 53.59, and Foy won the finals in 53.44 seconds.

“Not gonna lie, for a while I didn’t even know. I looked at the wrong time on the scoreboard,” Foy said. “It was a lot more of a shock after a few minutes but that was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. That was one of my biggest goals I’ve ever set for myself.”

He’s the first swimmer from Juneau to qualify for the Olympic trials and, at age 18, the youngest nationwide to meet the qualifying standard in the 100 butterfly, according to the Alaska Sports Report.

He has three months to prepare for the June 15-23 meet in Indianapolis, where he’ll compete for a spot on the U.S. Team for the Paris Olympics. Additionally, if he swims well at the trials, he could make the U.S. team for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Australia in August.

Foy said that he’s already met his dream just by qualifying for trials.

“Just going to the trials is just the cherry on top,” he said. “It was everything leading up to that that was the good part for me.”

Foy has been swimming his whole life, and started swimming competitively when he was six years old. His big sister was the swimmer who got him started—and she’s the one who keeps him going.

“She’s like my reason for getting up. She’s my favorite person in the planet,” he said. “She’s been there every time. Like she hasn’t been at every meet but if she wasn’t at the meet, she called or texted and I couldn’t have done it without her.”

He thanked his teammates for their support at practices.

“My teammates that are there push me without even knowing it. Just the fact that they’re there with me helps me more than they know,” Foy said. “I couldn’t have done any of this on my own or any of this without the support of everybody in my life. My coaches, friends and family.”

He holds multiple swim records in the state. After graduating high school in Juneau this May, he will swim to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to compete.

“After trials I’m going to keep the training up for college because I really want to do well in college. I’ll discuss my goals with the coaches at UNC once I get there,” Foy said. “I’m really, really excited to contribute to that team and be able to study whatever I want really. Be on relays again and contribute to a team or not even be able to contribute yet. Like going in freshman year, not even able to make a team would be so cool so that I have a goal to lead up to.”

Foy looks at his score at the 2023 Alaska School Activities Association Swim & Dive Championships in November of 2023. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

Seward’s Lydia Jacoby was the first Alaskan to qualify for an Olympic Games in swimming, competing at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021.

It was there she won the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.95, which was the fastest time ever achieved by a female American swimmer for that event in the 17–18 age group.

Alaska’s U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers (Sourced from the Alaska Sports Report)

  • Clark Rush, 1980
  • Mia Costello, 1988
  • Andrew Billings, 1988
  • Maria Reeves, 2000
  • Andrew Tainter, 2000
  • Robert Roosa, 2000
  • Patty Nash, 2000
  • Derek Gibb, 2000, 2004
  • Micha Burden, 2008
  • Samantha Wicks, 2016
  • Lydia Jacoby, 2020/2024
  • John Heaphy, 2020
  • PJ Foy, 2024