2012 Olympian has ties to DouglasBy Trisha Maldonado
Caitlin Leverenz, the daughter of Douglas native Jeannine Critchley and granddaughter of Jim Critchley Sr. and Helen Adair DeRosier Critchley, is a 2012 Olympic bronze winner in the 200 meters individual medley swimming event.
Leverenz was born in Tucson and attended Sahuaro High School. While a student at Sahuaro she was a member of the Cougars swim team.
She started swimming when she was seven and joined the El Dorado Aquatics Club in Tucson. At the time EDAC was operating on a very limited budget and had to rent water at the Forty Niner Country Club, and for part of each year the only time available for rent, and swim, was 5 a.m.
In September of 2002, Caitlin Leverenz, 11, entered her first swimming event of national significance, the La Jolla Rough Water Swim off the coast of San Diego. She swam 250 yards, finishing third in the girls' 11 category.
In 2004, when Leverenz was 13, she entered the Lost Dutchman Classic in Phoenix. She won six events, breaking age-group records in three of them.
Leverenz made the USA junior national team, swimming in Australia in 2005 and as a result being regularly invited to the Olympic Training Center.
After her freshman year at Sahuaro High School in 2006, Leverenz soared to No. 7 in the world rankings for the 200 IM. At the Speedo Grand Prix that summer she beat 2004 Olympians Dana Kirk and Kristin Caverly in that event. Both were college seniors.
At the 2008 Olympic trials, a month after graduating from Sahuaro, Leverenz failed to make the USA Olympic team by .85 of a second, losing to, Amanda Beard, in the 200 IM finals.
Leverenz received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she currently swims for coach Teri McKeever's California Golden Bears swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition.
At the NCAA national championships in 2011, she swam the breaststroke legs for the Golden Bears' winning relay teams in the 4x50-yard and 4x100-yard medley relay events
At 21, Leverenz won her first Olympic Medal. She is one of eight native Tucsonans to win a medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.