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Olympic Trials 2012: My Experience in Omaha

You have to give yourself a place to start and then dream big- that’s the only way to get where you want to go.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

Go for it… don’t be afraid of mistakes or defeats; they are the building blocks for all your successes.

Where to start…. I feel so honored to have been able to compete with the best swimmers in the nation and swim at such an AMAZING pool. Trials is definitely unlike any other USA National meet. There are over 14,000 spectators cheering their hearts out for you and the atmosphere is intense and electrifying. Omaha really puts on a huge show, with light tricks, poolside flames, etc. The first couple times when you walk out and see all these bright lights shining on you and on the pool can be a little intimidating. On the first day, I felt like I was going to be sick because I was so nervous. But I learned to stay calm by just reminding myself that I have swum this race a hundred times before, and it was a 50m pool just like the ones I’m used to back home. I really felt the energy of the crowd and used it to control my nerves and swim faster. I just wanted to go out there, have fun, see how fast I could go compared to the other girls, give it my all, and finish with nothing left. Trials is a very emotional meet for all the swimmers. It is heartbreaking to watch people finish third and just miss making the Olympic team, while at the same time you are extremely happy seeing people’s dreams come true. One of the most memorable moments I had at trials was watching my good friend Lia Neal, who I went on a USA trip to Peru with, make the team and become a first time Olympian. I remember getting goosebumps while watching her race and felt my heart rate go up because I was jumping up and down. I screamed when I saw that she touched the wall at 4th place and qualified for the 4x100 freestyle relay. Immediately, I went down to the warm-down area to congratulate her, and there were at least 20-30 other people there to see her. It was so awesome to see all of her club teammates, her coach, and her friends from other teams supporting her. I know she deserved that spot, and I was so proud of her because she is only 17, second youngest swimmer on the Olympic team. I almost started crying when I saw she was been crying (tears of joy, of course) because I was so happy and excited for her. It was one of my favorite moments during Trials, one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the meet, even though I had some failures. Being at this meet really motivated me to go back home and train for the 2016 trials. I made a long-term goal of making the 2016 Olympic team and competing in Rio. Swimming is my passion. I believe that dreams really can come true if you are willing to pay the price and work for it. I want to see how far swimming will take me and whether or not I make the next Olympics I will make the best out of swimming and have fun along the journey.

Alright, I lied in my last post. I said that I was feeling good and all that, but really, my legs felt like shit and I was struggling to even get some good strides in during my warm-up. But you know what? It’s all good because I made it through to the finals and have a good lane (3). I’m one step closer to making the Olympic team.