By Justine Espersen
Four of southern Nevada’s swimmers are competing in the Olympic Trials of Omaha, Nebraska.
Swimmers include Erin Emery, 14, of Palo Verde High School; Catie Miller, 15, of Bishop Gormon High School; Olivia Barker, 17, of Bishop Gormon High School; and Hannon Daigler, 19, originally from Pahrump, who will be attending University of Arizona in the fall.
“I’m excited, not really nervous,” said Barker, who is competing in the 400m individual medley and 200m and 100m butterfly, “but I’m sure I will be when I get there.”
June 25th through July 2 will be the first time for all of the swimmers to compete in the Olympic Trials.
“Our goal is to get a best time,” Miller, competing in the 400m individual medley, and Emery, who is competing in the 800m freestyle, said. “That’s always the goal,” Daigler added, who will be competing in the 400m individual medley.
A coach for 17 years, Ron Aitken has had some swimmers make it to the Olympic Trials before, including Miller’s older brother Cody Miller. However, it is more of an accomplishment to send these swimmers as they are still living in the valley and haven’t received further training from a college.
In part, with the local swimmers’ first attempt at the Olympic Trials, they will have to deal with a lot of new obstacles.
“It should go pretty well, but we’ll have to worry about the atmosphere, which will be pretty intimidating,” Aitken said. “Imagine it like a huge basketball arena; envision it like the NBA arena.”
The event expects to have around 60,000 fans attend in support of the swimmers.
“It gets really noisy fast and gets the kids’ adrenaline going,” Aitken said.
Coach Aitken expects the Olympic Trials to be an experience and a test for the swimmers.
“If they can get through this, it will be their first step to success,” Aitken said.
No matter the outcome, the teammates and swimmers hope to do their best, supporting each other the entire way.
“We just wish the best for each other,” Emery said. “We all motivate each other.”