MARYLAND

Montgomery County swimmers get ready for the Olympic trials

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A dozen swimmers from Montgomery County are getting ready to dive into the U.S. Olympic trials.

In just over a week, they'll compete in the most important swim meets of their lives.

The young athletes will spend 20 hours a week in the pool, and that's on top of going to school. They're among the roughly 1,500 athletes competing for 52 spots on Team USA. Only 26 men and 26 women will make a splash in the London Olympics in July.

Swimmer Sarah Haase, 18, said, "A lot of excitement. A little bit of nervousness, anxiety, but I'm just really excited to finally get out there."

"I've been dreaming about this ever since I was 10-years-old when I broke my first pool record at Fire Valley," 17-year-old swimmer Jack Conger added.

Conger will join 11 other teammates from the Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club at the Olympic trials in Omaha later this month.

National Training Group Head Coach Scott Vekeman said, " It's open to kids any age. I think the youngest in the area that I know of is 13 that's qualified, and there are people that are over 40-years-old that are going to be there, so it's a huge meet...it's just an incredible accomplishment for the athletes."

An accomplishment they hope takes them one stroke closer to living their Olympic dreams.

Mark and Charlotte Meyer, a brother-sister duo who've made the Olympic trial cut, could think of nothing more rewarding.

Mark said, "I guess some people might think it's monotonous, but there is a sense of calm. I remember just after some practices I go under water and just sit there. Hold my breath and it's serene."

"The feeling of the water as you're racing through it. I love the feeling," Charlotte added.

Now, they're ready for all the world to see just how fast they've become.

Hasse continued, " I'm thinking, pushing myself as hard as I can cause I know my competitors...and I don't want to fall behind them."

While there swimmers are in it to win it, they're happy to come this far and swim with the best in the country.

The Olympic trials kick off June 25 and last a week.

They'll be competing against people like Baltimore-native Michael Phelps. Phelps holds the most world records in swimming - seven. He also holds the distinction of setting more world records that any other swimmer with 39.

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