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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Swimming’s Anderson taking her talents to London

Mike+Christy+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AAlyssa+Anderson+swims+at+Hillenbrand+Aquatic+Center.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Alyssa Anderson swims at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

Every four years, thousands of swimmers flock to Omaha, Neb., for the Olympic trials and potential Olympian dreams are either fulfilled or denied. Arizona senior Alyssa Anderson’s Olympic dream lives on after she qualified for one of the Team USA Olympic relay teams.

A 16-time All-American in her time at Arizona, Anderson has been a pillar of stability for a swimming program that has already sent two others to next month’s Olympics.

In her senior year, Anderson was a five-time All-American at the NCAA Championships, placing in the top 10 in the 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter fly, 500-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle and 400 freestyle relay. The experience she has built in an achievement-filled career can only help her from this point forward, Anderson says.

“Obviously, this year was different because of the Olympic trials and the emphasis was a little bit more special,” Anderson said. “We’re doing the same kind of stuff in the pool, workouts haven’t changed.”

One difference this year for Anderson, who finished with a time of 1:58.40 in the 200-meter freestyle to qualify for the London games, is the amount of planning that goes into an Olympic season.

“There’s a lot of hard work and goal setting,” Anderson said. “You hope that what you’re doing is good enough.”

Anderson has been more than good enough in her time at Arizona, as she holds the school record in the 500-meter freestyle and the second fastest 200-meter individual medley time in Arizona history. Now the Granite Bay, Calif., native is taking her talents to London in 24 days to compete for her country alongside her sister Haley, who won the open water event.

“What an experience,” Anderson said. “I’ve talked to a couple girls that have gone and they couldn’t stop raving about it. Of course, it’s an incredible experience that not everybody gets. I’m truly honored.“

Anderson has been a part of the national team for two years but is making her first trip as an Olympian. Although she is new to the system, Anderson does not see her lack of experience as a detriment to the team.

“I will be less nervous than I was for my race here (at the Olympic trials in Omaha), but I think that it’s going to be very exciting and you’re going to have that adrenaline rush,” Anderson said. “I love relays, and to be on team USA’s relay is quite the experience.”

Anderson will take on some of the best swimmers in the world in London, but she will also make time to enjoy her stay instead of focusing solely on the competition.

“I’m looking forward to spending it with amazing people and seeing amazing venues and events and races,” Anderson said. “I want to experience as much as I can in terms of other sports, and then competing hard and competing for the USA.”

In Omaha, UA sophomore swimmers Margo Geer and Kait Flederbach qualified for Monday night’s women’s 50-meter freestyle after finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in Sunday night’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals.

In Monday’s final, Geer finished seventh in the women’s 50 with a time of 25.26, and Flederbach earned a sixth place finish, with a time of 25.13, neither one fast enough time to make the National team.

“This is a great meet and something we can build on,” UA swim coach Eric Hansen said in a statement. “I look forward to the future, but I’m honored to have worked with the people that came to this meet and represented the University of Arizona.”

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