Beth Grinspoon will take her successful swimming career one step higher this weekend when she competes in the 14th World Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Grinspoon, 20, a native of Columbia, is scheduled to compete in the 200- and 400-meter backstroke, as well as on the 400 and 800 medley relay teams. The competition starts Monday and will last until July 15.
Although it will be her first trip to Israel, this year's Maccabiah Games will not be the first international competition for Grinspoon, who will be a senior at West Virginia University this fall.
She earned two gold medals and one silver in the 1986 North American Maccabiah Youth Games in Toronto. Grinspoon set the 400 freestyle record for the 12-year-old age group at that meet.
In addition, Grinspoon has participated in five Junior Olympics.
As a member of the West Virginia swimming team the past three seasons, Grinspoon led the Mountaineers to Eastern % 5/8 championships in 1991 and 1992 and the Atlantic 10 championship in 1992.
Grinspoon, the second-highest scorer on the squad for most of those three years, is also a two-time academic All-American.
Grinspoon's times in her junior year were submitted to the U.S. Committee Sports for Israel, which is sponsoring the U.S. Maccabiah team.
Grinspoon was chosen for the swim team four months ago, and will be one of 650 members on the U.S. squad.
Besides swimming at local clubs for 17 years, Grinspoon competed in cross country, lacrosse and swimming at Howard High School.
More than 5,000 Jewish athletes from more than 56 countries will be at the quadrennial Maccabiah Games, which includes events ranging from badminton to yachting. The games are an Olympic-sanctioned event.