The swim team is preparing to send 24 athletes to their Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., and is confident about their preparation for the event.
“Our new pool at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center can convert to the Olympic distance, which has been very advantageous throughout the year,” Skinner said. “We’re definitely excited to see what we can do.”
Athletes on the team are similarly looking forward to the trials.
“We’ve had good training all year, and now it’s about getting there and enjoying the experience,” said rising senior Heather Savage.
The trials may be meaningful, but team members are focused on not taking things too seriously.
“We’re trying to treat this like a normal meet,” said rising senior Greg Mahon. “There’s no sense in putting any extra pressure on things, we don’t want to get too anxious.”
Despite these preparations, it’s hard to deny the importance of the trials.
“This is the pinnacle of our sport, since we don’t exactly have any pro teams,” Skinner said. “This is the absolute peak here, and making the team would mean the world to them.”
If one thing seems to be consistent across these vastly different sports, it would be the meaning that the Olympics hold for these student-athletes.
“Making the team would mean everything to me,” Wesh said. “The thought of going from running as a freshman to representing the USA is just incredible.”
Athletes on the aquatic side of things couldn’t help but agree.
“It would be unbelievable, words can’t even describe how I’d feel if I made the team,” Mahon said. “It’s every kid’s dream to make the Olympics.”
Although none of Tech’s athletes have been able to achieve this dream thus far this year, coaches feel as if this experience bodes well for the future.
“It’s great to get people competing at this level and getting more experience in this setting,” Cianelli said. “Next time around, they could be in the position to be finalists, and could catch fire, since you never know what could happen.”