Sophomore Amalie Fackenthal demolished her previous 50-meter freestyle time by .95 seconds in order to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Swim Trials.
Fackenthal placed second in the 50-yard freestyle at the 2016 NCSA (National Club Swimming Association) Junior Championships, in Orlando, Fla., on March 19.
Her time of 26.04 was under the cutoff of 26.19 needed to qualify.
According to Fackenthal, she was slightly disappointed that she didn’t get first. But she knew getting second place as a sophomore was a big accomplishment.
“I saw my time, and I knew I got the cut,” Fackenthal said. “For a while I was just in shock I (got) the time I did. I dropped almost a whole second, which is amazing for a 26-second race.
“My coach was screaming at me, and he was really happy. I got out of the pool, and my teammates came running to hug me. I almost cried I was so happy.”
At the Junior Championships (March 15-19), Fackenthal also made it to the finals in the 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle.
In the finals there were five heats of eight swimmers. Fackenthal made it to the championship heats in the 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle.
She placed seventh, eighth, and second, respectively, in those events.
The preliminary heats for the events were in yards. But the final heats were held in meters so swimmers would have the chance to meet the Olympic Trial cuts.
The 2016 Olympic Trials is the biggest swimming event in the country, according to USA Swimming.
The meet takes place in Omaha, Nebraska, June 26-July 3.
To qualify for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a swimmer must place first or second in an event, according to Fackenthal.
However, Fackenthal isn’t counting on making the Olympic team.
“To say that it is impossible for me (to make the team) right now is pessimistic but really true,” Fackenthal said. “Even though I made the cut, I’d be one of the slowest swimmers in the meet. These are some of the fastest people in the world.”
Check out a video of Fackenthal’s 50-meter freestyle finals race.
—By Adam Dean