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Two area swimmers take aim for spots on US Olympic team

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KENNETH M. VELOSKEY
June 12, 2012
— It’s an eight-hour flight from the Midwest to London, but Emily McClellan of Delavan and Bridgette Alexander of Milton could make it there in less time than it takes to brew a good pot of tea.

McClellan, a Delavan-Darien graduate who recently completed her sophomore swim season for Division 1 UW-Milwaukee, and Alexander, a junior this fall on Milton High’s defending WIAA Division 2 state champion girls swim team, qualified in two events each for the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials beginning June 25 in Omaha, Neb.


Both swimmers have opportunities to earn spots on the U.S. Olympic women’s swim team and compete in the London Summer Games in July if they finish in the top two places in their events. The caveat for both Alexander and the more-seasoned McClellan is they are stepping up to a meet that brings the best out of the best.


“The U.S. Olympic trials is the fastest swim meet in the world—faster than the Olympics itself,” said UWM head swim coach Kyle Clements. “It’s a powerful swim meet.’’


Alexander has to outperform 11-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin. who is No. 1 in the 100-meter backstroke (59.12), and current world record holder 16-year-old Missy Franklin, who is No. 1 in the 200-meter backstroke (2:05.10).


Alexander, who turns 16 on the first day of the U.S. trials, qualified for the 100-meter backstroke (1:03.88) at the Winter Nationals in Georgia and earned her 200 backstroke (2:19.26) berth at the Junior Nationals last March in Orlando, Fla., representing the J-Hawks Aquatic Club out of Whitewater.


A WIAA state champion in the 200 individual medley (2:05.30) last November, Alexander is also the state record holder (54:79) for 15-16-year-old girls in the 100-yard backstroke.


Alexander is eager to swim with the best in the country and the world.


“There will be lots of people and very tough competition, obviously,” said Alexander, who has been swimming competitively since she was 7 years old. “I’m going to have fun with it and just learn.’’


It’s an eight-hour flight from the Midwest to London, but Emily McClellan of Delavan and Bridgette Alexander of Milton could make it there in less time than it takes to brew a good pot of tea.


McClellan, a Delavan-Darien graduate who recently completed her sophomore swim season for Division 1 UW-Milwaukee, and Alexander, a junior this fall on Milton High’s defending WIAA Division 2 state champion girls swim team, qualified in two events each for the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials beginning June 25 in Omaha, Neb.


Both swimmers have opportunities to earn spots on the U.S. Olympic women’s swim team and compete in the London Summer Games in July if they finish in the top two places in their events. The caveat for both Alexander and the more-seasoned McClellan is they are stepping up to a meet that brings the best out of the best.


“The U.S. Olympic trials is the fastest swim meet in the world—faster than the Olympics itself,” said UWM head swim coach Kyle Clements. “It’s a powerful swim meet.’’


Alexander has to outperform 11-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin. who is No. 1 in the 100-meter backstroke (59.12), and current world record holder 16-year-old Missy Franklin, who is No. 1 in the 200-meter backstroke (2:05.10).


Alexander, who turns 16 on the first day of the U.S. trials, qualified for the 100-meter backstroke (1:03.88) at the Winter Nationals in Georgia and earned her 200 backstroke (2:19.26) berth at the Junior Nationals last March in Orlando, Fla., representing the J-Hawks Aquatic Club out of Whitewater.


A WIAA state champion in the 200 individual medley (2:05.30) last November, Alexander is also the state record holder (54:79) for 15-16-year-old girls in the 100-yard backstroke.


Alexander is eager to swim with the best in the country and the world.


“There will be lots of people and very tough competition, obviously,” said Alexander, who has been swimming competitively since she was 7 years old. “I’m going to have fun with it and just learn.’’



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