OMAHA — USA Swimming is considered by many as the best team in the world. As they prepare to finalize the Olympic roster on Sunday, Iowans are living out their dreams competing at the trials in Omaha.
“Last trials I was in the stands crying because I wanted to be here so bad, so this time it’s honestly a dream come true. It’s what I’ve been looking forward to forever,” said Urbandale native Gillian Davey.
Davey, a Waukee graduate, swims for the University of Kentucky and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in four events.
“I’ve been coming here for years watching the best of the best and it’s exciting to compete against the best of the best,” said Davey.
After her first Olympic trials in 2016, Ames native Sophie Sorenson qualified in two events.
“I just chased after my dreams. I have a lot of doubters, but I was really excited that I could push through,” said Sorenson, an NCAA All American who swims for the University of Kentucky.
Johnston native Justin Winnett, a Division II All American at Lindenwood University, was proud to represent the state of Iowa in the 100 meter breaststroke.
“Having a setback with the pandemic and finally getting here has been a great opportunity to say the least,” said Winnett.
Competing at the trials has been an opportunity of a lifetime for these Iowans.
“There’s a ready room you sit in before you walk out and I was shaking. I was so nervous,” said Davey. “But when I got out there, I trusted my training and gave it my all. I could barely walk after my race.”
Competing on this stage doesn’t come without hard work.
“Putting the time in every single day, some of the hours aren’t the best,” said Winnett.
Carrying Iowa roots into pools across the country also isn’t easy.
“I feel like Iowa isn’t known for swimming, so it’s cool to help represent that and bring that up,” said Sorenson.
They are proof that dreams can grow from Iowa waters.
“Growing up I’ve kind of always been around it and it was put in my head after 2012,” said Sorenson.
These athletes are showing you can make it as long as you believe.
“If you set your goals for the Olympics and you only make the Olympic trials, that’s still top 1% in the nation in swimming,” said Winnett.