Olympics aren’t only for pros: Maiocco swims at Olympic Trials

LILY ISRAEL, SPORTS EDITOR

High school athletes set their eyes on school records and state championships, but senior Claire Maiocco has her eyes set on gold—Olympic gold medal, that is.

Swimmer Maiocco competed at the Olympic Trials in June. She traveled to Omaha with Coach Rocco Aceto and her family for a week of races, professional exposure and unforgettable experiences.

Maiocco qualified for the trials in the 100-meter fly, an event in which she already holds the school record. Although Maiocco did not have one of her best swims, everyone was pleased with her overall performance.

“For me it’s about getting the experience of racing and being around all these people,” Maiocco said.

Aceto, who has coached multiple Olympians, attributed her results to the over stimulating and overwhelming nature of the trials.

“[It’s like] a Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway Park,” Aceto said. “You get up and you get one swim. Well, you’ve never been in front of all those people. There is no way that I know to reproduce this.”

The Olympic trials is one of the most popular swim meets. Approximately 15,000 people including press from major sports networks were in attendance for each session.

Maiocco competed at the senior nationals meet, an international meet in Toronto and has been an all-American swimmer throughout high school. However, none of these meets compare to the magnitude of the Olympic stage.

“It’s really an environment that is so different from any meet I will go to for the next four years,” Maiocco said. “But then you get there, and you are suddenly surrounded by all these amazing swimmers. Everyone knows what they are doing, and it gives me a sense of if I’m as good [as these Olympians]. I can do that too.”

The high schooler was evenly matched against athletes of her caliber, but was topped by the best college athletes, who were then bested by the professionals and best swimmers in the United States.

“When you hop in a lane and Missy Franklin hops in next to you, you [think to yourself] ‘oh my God,’” Maiocco said. “It’s actually crazy just to be walking around [with Olympians] being there.”

While at the trials, Maiocco had the opportunity to meet with college coaches. The senior recently committed to further her athletic career at the University of Michigan. While she looks forward to her promising future, the senior wants to make the most out of her fleeting time at Trinity.

She would like to improve on her already school record time in the 100-meter fly and place high in the state meet.

In another four years, Maiocco can qualify for the Tokyo Olympic trials, something that seems almost inevitable as the swimmer continues to improve everyday.

“The only thing I could think of [at the trials] was I can’t wait to come back,” Maiocco said.

Every athlete dreams of making it to the Olympics, but at the age of 17, Claire Maiocco has already achieved that dream.