Jill Johnson Chasson – Honor Athlete

After four years of skilled training, Jill Johnson exploded on the Age Group scene winning two titles at the l983 National Junior Championships and breaking meet records. However, she found that the road to senior level success was even a longer one. A plateau, then gradual improvement, then discouragement, then renewed dedication and success. After a seven-year drought Jill won the 200 Breast at NCAA and moved on to International Team success. Finally, after three tries, an Olympic Team berth in l992.

Jill spent many practices with her NBAC Age Group Coach, Carter Warfield perfecting the control of the breaststroke kick. The strength and balance that she learned there carried her through a long career. In l983 Jill, having moved into Senior training, used the heavier training to her benefit in winning both breaststrokes at the National Junior LC Championships in record time. However, from then it was to be three years before improved time and senior success were to be achieved. Jill earned Third at Senior Nationals at Santa Clara in the 200 Breast, propelling her to future success on the Stanford NCAA Team.

At Stanford Jill placed in finals in l987 and l988. But finally she became inspired by the coaching skills of the Stanford Assistant, Mike Chasson and rocketed to Second at the l989 NCAA and was voted The Most Improved Swimmer on that Stanford NCAA Championship Team. In l990 Jill made the logical next step and won the 200 Breast in her Senior Year.

That next summer of l990 Jill returned to USS Swimming with enthusiasm. She swam in the Goodwill Games in Seattle and placed fourth. She placed second in the Nationals in the 200 Breast earning a place on the World Championship Team to Perth. There she placed fourth just shy of a medal. Clearly l990 had been a very good year. At the l991 Pan Pac she placed tenth. However, with over a year to go until the l992 Olympic Trials, a law school goal ahead and young American Breaststrokers placing one, two and three in l991 World Rankings in blistering time, Jill’s chances for l992 seemed slight. However, moving East to Massachusetts to train with Mike Chasson, Jill kept looking ahead. At the l992 Trials, Jill shocked the swimming world by using her powerful kick dropping over four seconds off her best and placing Second to make the Olympic Team. In Barcelona, despite a week of sickness, Jill missed the final by only .02 seconds and swam in the consolation final. Jill finished l992 with a Fifth place World Ranking.

Jill continues to use her legal and her swimming knowledge as the liaison for USS to the United States Olympic Committee and the USOC Athlete’s Advisory Council. As might be inferred from above, Jill and Mike are a permanent team and live happily married in Phoenix, Arizona.