The stage for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is set. It is expected that over 11,000 athletes from more than 206 countries will compete for 339 gold medals. Auburn’s swimmers hope to represent their University on the world’s stage.
“As the Tigers look towards the 2020 Olympics, I’m excited about our 16 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers and their journey to Omaha, Nebraska next June,” said head coach of Auburn Swimming and Dive Gary Taylor.
David Crossland and Claire Fisch, Auburn University swimmers and Olympic Trials qualifiers, offered a glimpse into the daily routine of Auburn’s Olympic hopefuls.
Crossland, a butterfly and backstroke specialist, qualified for Trials in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events, as well as the 200-meter butterfly.
“Every day when you wake up, you just have to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘What do I want to accomplish today? What are my long-term goals and what can I do today to get there?’” Crossland said. “That’s what keeps me motivated.”
Freestyle sprinter Fisch achieved cuts in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events.
“Swimming has shaped everything about me, I think, like my attitude towards others, towards working hard, the respect I have for others,” Fisch said.
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Both swimmers qualified at the Richard Quick Invitational, a two-day swim meet hosted at Auburn University. Achieving cuts so early in the season was a shock to both.
“I had no idea what time I needed to go,” Fisch said. “We got out of the pool, and it’s not the time that I wanted, but the coaches were like, ‘You got your cut,’ and I was like ‘Oh shoot, cool. I’m going to Omaha.’”
According to Fisch and Crossland, the support that they have received over the years is an instrumental part of their journey to Trials.
“Because I’m a senior, my parents are coming to every single one of my meets,” Crossland said. “Flying down from Philadelphia, going to the travel meets, they are so supportive with everything.”
Fisch credits the Auburn Family for helping her become a successful student-athlete and call Auburn her home.
“I think that the hardest part was getting into college and getting adjusted, but then, once you’re in, just the family that’s around you is like, ‘OK, you’re here. Now we’re gonna take care of you and you’re gonna succeed and we won’t let you fall. We’ll be there for you,’” Fisch said.
Fisch said her older sister, who chose not to swim in college, is her inspiration.
“I feel like me swimming in college was almost to make her proud, like ‘look what I can do now,’” Fisch said. “I was so excited, and I was going to swim for the both of us. I think one of the main reasons that I swam in college was to make her proud.”
Fisch’s advice to younger swimmers is to take the season one day at a time, so it’s not overwhelming. According to Fisch, the season may seem long, but it flies by every year. Crossland advises that, though the journey is hard, they should push through to the end because it is worth it.
Crossland speaks from personal experience.
His senior year in high school, Crossland tore his labrum, the cartilage in his shoulder. Consequently, he chose to skip Trials, so that he would be prepared to start swimming at Auburn.
“Rehabbing from that was miserable,” Crossland said. “The first year that I was on campus, every day I was swimming and there was just pain in my shoulder. It was mentally hard to push through it, but obviously, I’m glad that I did.”
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