High school swimmers Parker Reynolds and Claire Tuggle are heading to Omaha in June for the Olympic trials.
The high school juniors have been training for the trials at the Santa Maria Swim Club.
Tuggle said, “I think just even going there, the however many years I’ve been doing this, is worth it.”
Reynolds said, “There are like 20,000 people in the stands, it’s like a basketball arena, there’s nothing that can really prepare me for it.”
Reynolds, a Righetti High School student, will compete in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter freestyle races.
Tuggle, a St. Joseph High School student, will compete in the 200-meter freestyle race.
Santa Maria Swim Club Head Coach Michael Ashmore said, “The average age for the Olympic trials is 24. To have high school students representing Santa Maria at that level is huge.”
Tuggle said, “Some people will argue it’s better than the Olympics, just the atmosphere and the crowd.”
Training during the pandemic wasn’t all that simple as both athletes had to get creative.
Reynolds trained at a pond located near a vineyard as his temporary workout location.
Reynolds said, “It’s just what we had left, that’s what I went for from late April until early June. But I think the extra year that we got has definitely helped.”
The two athletes are now training together as they prepare for the next step in their swimming careers.
Ashmore said, “In the middle of training, having somebody else that’s got to do the same stuff instead of doing it by yourself is huge.”
Tuggle said, “It’s just good having a peer to train with. We’ve been friends for so long it’s super easy and works well.”
In addition to the Olympic trials, Reynolds has committed to swim at Arizona State University.
Tuggle has committed to swim at the University of Virginia.