Girls Swimming: Glenbrook South’s Olivia Smoliga hoping her best is yet to comeGBS gswm Olivia Smoliga
Updated: July 4, 2012 10:46AM
It was too soon for Olivia Smoliga to think about the Olympic Games.
For someone who came so close to qualifying as a competitor, the idea of watching them on TV is too heartbreaking.
The rising senior at Glenbrook South finished fourth in the 100-meter backstroke last week at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, two spots out of a place on the London team.
“My mom wants to have an Olympic viewing party, but it’s going to be pretty hard to tune in,” Smoliga confessed. “I want to be really supportive of the girls who made it, though. I hope they do their best, but I wish it was me that was going over there.”
Still, the 17-year-old Smoliga, a four-time state champion and state record-holder in three events, solidified herself last week at the CenturyLink Center as one of the country’s best swimmers and a hopeful for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
“I am proud of how I did,” she said. “I was really upset at first because I am a competitive person. One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to hearing is how I did my best. You don’t want to hear that. The best thing would have been going to London.
“But I do realize how tight the race was. There definitely were some positives.”
One of them was that Smoliga became one of five U.S women in history to swim the event in under a minute, touching in 59.82 during the semifinals. That time was the eighth-fastest in the world this year.
Event champion Missy Franklin, who also is 17, established an American record with her clocking of 58.55 during the finals.
“From first to eighth place was something like two seconds,” Smoliga said of the finals. “That’s a touch of a hand, a blink of an eye.”
Smoliga said it was challenging to reset herself after the 100 backstroke to swim the 50 free and 100 free.
“It was hard after the emotional highs and lows,” she said. “I was disappointed, and it was hard to get motivated again. But I snapped out of it.
“I know that I will be that much stronger, better and older the next time.”
Next for Smoliga are the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii, in late August.
“All of this is making me hungrier for the next Olympics,” she said.