Oberg in Omaha for Olympic Trials
June 26, 2012
Vanderbilt swimmer Chrissy Oberg is in Omaha, Neb., for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, competing for the right to represent the United States in the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Spartanburg, S.C., native will attempt to qualify in the 200 meter backstroke, with her event taking place on Saturday, June 30. The top competitors will move to the semifinals that night, followed by the finals on Sunday, July 1. Oberg will be checking-in with VUCommodores.com through her time in Omaha.
So here it is, four years have passed since Beijing and once again the best of American swimming is coming together to compete for the right to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London. There have been some big changes since the last Trials: tech suits have been banned, some old favorites have retired and many new faces have risen to the forefront of the sport. But for me, the biggest difference between this Olympic Trials and the ones in 2008 is that instead of watching it on TV in South Carolina I will be there in Omaha competing! I am still having a hard time believing it myself.
As I was finishing my last practice at my home pool and was talking with the girls that will also be going to Omaha one of our coaches came over and said something that really resonated with me. He told us that we had earned the right to compete at Olympic Trials, that we belonged there and that we should do everything we could to make an impact on the meet, and lastly, but most importantly, to soak up every minute of the experience. To me this was more than just a pep talk; swimming is such a mental sport, and when you are competing directly against names like Ryan Lochte, Elizabeth Beisel or Michael Phelps, it is dangerously easy to get inside your own head and tell yourself you don't deserve to be in the same pool as these Olympic heroes. But what is so important to remember, and what my coach reminded me of, was that every swimmer who will make their way to Omaha this week has worked for years to become the athlete that they are, and they qualified for this meet by swimming fast, just like the numerous Olympic veterans that have also earned the right to be there.
So going into this meet which showcases the best swimmers in the country before they cross the ocean to take on the best the world has to offer we should all take a moment to step back and remember all that we put in to get here, and be proud of ourselves for what we have already accomplished. Everyone swimming here, myself included, knows that it is an honor to be able to compete for a spot on the Olympic Team. It is an experience that only a few people will ever get to have. So to everyone who is already there, and to those making their way to Omaha in the coming days I will repeat what my coach told me, soak in the moment, because it will be a long time until we get a chance to do this again.
Before Oberg left her native Spartanburg, S.C., for Omaha, Jerome Boettcher of The City Paper caught up with her and Vanderbilt Head Coach Jeremy Organ to talk about the accomplishment:
Just how hard is it to qualify for the United States in swimming? Yahoo.com's Pat Forde gives a good primer on why the U.S. Olympic qualifier can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences in sports:
To follow the qualifier, including live webcasts of all events that are not televised by NBC Sports, visit USASwimming.org's Olympic Trials Home Page.
Follow Vanderbilt Swimming @VanderbiltSwim.
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