Swimming and diving coach Rick Walker and assistant coach Scott Olson said they weren’t surprised when they found out junior swimmer Justin Wolfe will travel to the Olympic trials June 23 in Omaha, Neb.
“I was pleased, but not surprised,” Walker said. “This might be a little nerve-wracking for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, but Justin knows exactly what he’s doing, why he’s doing it and he knows the Olympic trials is the big show.”
After the regular swim season’s end March 3, Olson said jumping right back into two-a-day practices and a switch to long-course swimming for summer meets have yet to slow Wolfe down.
“We are kind of treading on new grounds for Justin. He’s figured out how the college season goes, but this will be a lot different for him with his next big meet coming up in late June,” he said.
After Wolfe made first team all conference March 3, he said the Salukis’ third place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships didn’t sit well. As a junior, he said his ultimate goal as a senior will be to help secure the Salukis an MAC Championship.
Though Wolfe is the first SIU swimmer to make it to the Olympic trials in 12 years, he said the USA swimming meet April 19 where he qualified didn’t exactly have him competing against his normal age group.
“I didn’t have a time yet going in to the meet,” Wolfe said. “And there were only a few of us, so they put me in the first heat with the slowest kids, so I was swimming with the nine- and ten-year-olds.”
With Wolfe’s qualification time a 55.01 in the 100-meter butterfly, Walker and Olson both said his qualification for the Olympic trials stems from his work ethic, focus and ability to swim fast no matter what the circumstance.