Local Star Swimmers Ready for U.S. Olympic Trials
Ryan Lochte would be the favorite in every event at the London Aquatics Centre in July if not for his chief rival, Michael Phelps.
Lochte, who was born in Bristol, is racing in as many events as Phelps, making the U.S. almost untouchable in medals.
Kara Lynn Joyce, like Lochte, left the Rochester area after starting her career here, in fact, while at Webster, Joyce set Section V records in the 50 and 100 freestyles that still stand today.
The future of the U.S. Olympic team is in the current high school and college ranks. Three of Section V's top female swimmers made trials, all three took similar paths.
Mallory Morrell was a star sprinter at Rush-Henrietta. After starting her college career at New Hampshire, Morrell is at the University at Buffalo, where, in a qualifier meet, she placed second in the 50 freestyle, one-hundredth of a second under the cut time.
"I am not sure what to expect, because this is the biggest meet I've ever been to, and just competing against the Nation's top swimmers and athletes is just really exciting and I'm really looking forward to it," said Morrell.
First place in that race was Canandaigua grad Brittney Kuras. She also transferred to UB, leaving Rutgers. Kuras set Alumni Pool on fire, claiming three school records and has helped break four of the school's five relay records.
"It's pretty exciting, just to watch all the records that are going to be broken and everything, it'll just be really neat to be there to see it,” Kuras said.
Kuras and Canandaigua teammate Heather Savage dominated Section V three years ago, winning a state title in the 200 medley relay. Savage, like Morrell and Kuras, is not where she started. After her freshman year at Clemson, the Tigers announced they were phasing the program out, so she transferred to Virginia Tech.
This season was a big one for Savage. She surprised everyone, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference 100 butterfly title and earning All-American honors in the event at the NCAA meet.
"One of my biggest goals this season was just to go out and have fun and see what was capable and what our team was capable of doing. So I went into practice every day with the mindset of, what can I do to help make this team better and to get the team to where we wanted it to be and have fun along the way, I think that's probably the biggest thing,” Savage said.
While they may not be favorites for London, this could be a stepping-stone for all three, four years from now.
“I know I don't have any expectations for it, just go and see what I can do. It's not like I have to win because it's just not going to happen so, it's just go and have fun,” Kuras said.
"This is my first time going, so, it's kind of a learning curve for me too, so, it'll be fun,” said Savage.
"I'm not putting myself up to really high expectations, like making the Olympic team, but just to have the chance to go means that I actually just qualified and I think that's my term of success,” Morrell said.