TOPS swimmers Alex Pedraza, left, and Will Raidt combined to record ten Top 30 finishes at the NASA Showcase Classic in Clearwater, Fla. (Courtesy Sue Ryba)

TOPS Swimmers Compete At Nationals

Two 12-year old boys from Oak Park and River Forest, represented TOPS swim team at the NASA Showcase Classic in Clearwater, Florida last week.  Alex Pedraza, a 7th grader at Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park, and Will Raidt, at 6th grader at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest, swam a combined 12 events at the meet, considered to be the fastest age group swim meet in the country.

Between the two boys, they had ten Top 30 finishes, including Alex finishing in 20th place in the 50 breaststroke and 26th in both the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke. Will finished 15th in 200 backstroke, 17th in 50 backstroke, and 23rd in 50 free. Will and Alex have been swimming together on TOPS since they were 7-years-old.

Previously, Alex and Will led the TOPS boys team to 13th place at the Illinois Swimming Age Group Championships held at UIC in mid-March.

Dylan Fu, Alexandra Gill, Gillian Lundgren, Diego Pareja, Anders Ryan, Connor Sorg, Frank Tirone, and Toby West also swam well for TOPS at the UIC event.

TOPS, whose mission is positive youth development through the sport of swimming, is the premiere swim club in the Oak Park area. Swim instruction for swimmers ages 5-18, in different skill levels, is offered. Practices are held at the West Cook YMCA and Oak Park and River Forest High School. For more information, visit

Join the discussion on social media!