CARMEL, Ind. — We're just 39 days away from opening ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympics, and more Hoosiers are making Team USA.
Carmel Swim Club is hoping for its first Olympian as eight swimmers from the program are in Omaha to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Jake Mitchell and Kelly Pash swam their first events on Sunday.
The club held a watch party at Carmel’s Midtown Plaza so they could see the hometown athletes on the big screen.
“Carmel’s Swim Club’s vision is to be a community club with a national presence. So, to be right here and feel that community support while our swimmers are halfway across the country, it’s pretty incredible,” said Maggie Mestrich, director of business development for Carmel Swim Club.
Swimmers, alumni, families and fans came to cheer on the athletes, including Carmel swimmer Griffin Hadley. The soon-to-be University of Tennessee swimmer competed in the first wave of trials in Omaha. Now, he is back home cheering on his friend Mitchell.
“I texted with him earlier today, and he said it is truly special that we are gathering here to cheer him on because his impact from nine hours away is extremely great,” Hadley said.
Hadley hopes seeing these local athletes at the trials will inspire younger swimmers.
"It's super fun to get to see all the younger athletes here tonight and around the country watching and tuning into this sport because there really isn't a better exposure for the sport of swimming than the Olympic Games and the U.S. Olympic Trials,” Hadley said.
Mitchell finished second in the 400-freestyle final with a time of 3:48.17, but despite the finish, Mitchell’s time didn’t meet the worldwide Olympic time standard to qualify, which is 3:46.78.
According to NBC Sports, if nobody from Sunday's top 10 finishers in Omaha hits the time standard in any meet or time trial by June 27, Zane Grothe is in line to get the spot because he is the only other swimmer to meet the standard during the international qualifying period since March 1, 2019.
Nonetheless, Mitchell’s friends and teammates were excited. He still has one more event to swim in Omaha.
Kelly Pash also competed Sunday. Despite finishing ninth in the semifinals of the 100 Butterfly, she gained a spot in Monday night's final when one of the other women decided to scratch out of the race.
Her older sister, Jackie, was at the watch party to cheer on her sister.
“When watching Kelly swim, I always get really nervous for her because I know the nerves that go into it, and I know how excited she is,” Jackie said.
Jackie said she couldn’t be at the trials, but this watch party made up for it.
"It was an electric atmosphere. Having everyone here, having the spectator vibe, it was awesome,” Jackie said.
There are six other Carmel athletes competing in the trials, which go until June 20.
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