Several former Indiana University collegiate swimmers who have turned professional and recently spent time training in Seymour were chosen for the U.S. National Team, a step that keeps their Summer Olympic dream alive for 2021.
Eight swimmers, some of them past Olympians with connections to IU, though not all of whom worked out in Seymour, made the cut to position themselves for next year’s Olympic Trials for the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Zach Apple, Cody Miller and Blake Pieroni took advantage of access to Shields Park Pool to keep up their training at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic had sealed off most options for them.
King won two gold medals for the United States team in 2016.
Also, other ex-IU swimmers Michael Brinegar, Ian Finnerty and Zane Grothe were selected for the national group by USA Swimming in Colorado Springs.
There are 59 men and 56 women who received national team designation. The Olympic team will be chosen from this group.
“That group of people, they’re your Olympic people,” IU coach Ray Looze said of those picked for the national team.
The Summer Olympics were originally scheduled to be held in Japan this summer but were put back for a year because of the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.
Although the replacement trials are not scheduled until next June and the Games until next July, there is still uncertainty over whether these Olympics will be held at all, depending on the situation surrounding the virus.
This step means “everything,” he said to the hopefuls who wish to make take the next step and compete in the trials.
Current IU swimmers still await word on whether the Big Ten will commit to a winter season in their sport after calling off all fall sports recently.
Looze, who supervised the pro swimmers’ training during their Seymour workouts, said swimmers right now are able to swim in the IU pool, but as has been seen in several sports, matters can change swiftly.
“We’re hopeful we can begin (the season),” Looze said. “It’s got a trickle-down effect on everyone. It has been a long year. It’s hard to beat that (the virus) every day.”