Young swimmer’s in it for the experience—if not a chance at his dream
By Tyler Poslosky | BSU at the Games
While most high school kids are spending time with family and friends or simply relaxing over their summer break, Nick Orf is preparing for the biggest opportunity of his life.
The 17-year-old soon-to-be senior at Parkway Central High School in St. Louis, Mo., has been a member of Parkway Swim Club for three years and will be vying for a spot on Team USA at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., June 25-July 2.
Swimming competitively is both taxing and burdensome at times, and Orf has virtually no free time.
“I’ve been doing some pretty rigorous workouts, sometimes eight to nine practices a week,” he said.
But he doesn’t mind, he said—as long as he can keep competing.
Orf, who qualified for the Olympic Trials in August 2011 for the 200-meter butterfly, swam against 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps at the Ohio State Grand Prix last March.
With Phelps only a few lanes away from him, Orf said it was a relief to know everyone wasn’t monitoring his every move.
“It was nice to know that everybody else wouldn’t be watching me, that’s for sure,” Orf said. “They were all cheering for Michael Phelps and nobody had any idea who I was. It was pretty cool being able to race in the same pool as him. Just really exhilarating.”
The odds of Orf making it to London are slim, mainly due to his age and lack of experience, but Orf doesn’t mind being an underdog.
“It’s just really cool to be able to go,” he said. “It’ll be especially cool if I make the finals or semi-finals. I don’t expect to go, but it’s pretty awesome to have the chance to be able to [go] and to see all the other swimmers who end up making it. It’s good to watch.
“It’s mostly the experience for me because I’m hoping to make it in four years from now in 2016 when I’m [done] with college and I’ll have a lot more training under my belt. Hopefully, I’ll drop my time to get to that point where I might be able to make the team.”
Tyler Poslosky is a senior telecommunications and journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.
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