Swirbul sets new U.S. standard with third career medal at Junior Worlds

Hailey Swirbul strikes again.

The 2016 Basalt High School graduate and former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete won her second medal at the Junior World Championships on Thursday in Goms, Switzerland, and made a first for an American cross-country skier.

Swirbul finished third in Thursday’s 10-kilometer skiathlon, only 0.7 seconds behind runner-up Lone Johansen of Norway. Sweden’s Frida Karlsson won the race by more than 30 seconds.

“The race was very challenging but it was really fun and exciting the whole time,” Swirbul told organizers. “I knew that I had to try and make a gap between the fourth-place girl because sprinting to the finish is not my strongest part of the race, so I was able to do that and the Norwegian girl beat me fair and square.”

On Tuesday, Swirbul took second in a 5k individual classic. Her two medals in two races, combined with a bronze she won as part of a relay team at Junior Worlds in Soldier Hollow, Utah, last year, give her three career Junior Worlds medals, the most of any U.S. Nordic skier, male or female, in the event’s history.

Swirbul, a sophomore at the University of Alaska Anchorage, is expected to compete in Saturday’s relay, the final race of the prestigious event.