For U-S Olympic Swimmers, tickets to Tokyo were earned in Omaha, in V3’s 50-meter pool

It is extremely difficult to earn one of the 53 spots on the US Olympic Swim Team. Actually, it’s pretty difficult to describe the trials in which world-class athletes compete for coveted spots.

“I love it. You know, young people competing. I love the patriotism. I love the excellence, the commitment to the sport. I love the family support. I love the inspiration that they were providing. Not only to other young people, but to us. I had a ball and I felt like I was at the Olympics, not the trials,” Doris Baylor of North Minneapolis explained.

Baylor was part of a team of 20 enthusiastic V3 supporters who attended the US Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha on June 13 and 14. Not only was it an opportunity to see the future V3 Center 50-meter pool in action under the bright lights, but it was also a chance to see the nation’s top swimmers, many of who are the best in the world.

“When they were up on the starting blocks and you get that feeling in your stomach? I got that feeling for them and just like cheering and going crazy. I just felt that energy from them,” V3 Board Member Isaac DeSouza said.

“There were some tears, there were like, it was intense. Right? And tears, as a former swimmer. So I swam in high school. Um, so it was outstanding because it was just so exceptional,” added Miquel Purvis McMoore.

And paying very close attention to the races, and taking in the tremendous energy and atmosphere of the trials was Keon Blasingame, a North High Alum who will lead the design and build of the V3 Health & Wellness Community Center. Perhaps capturing that feeling and spirit of the Olympic Trials will be a tall task, but Blasingame is more than excited about the challenge. He’s called the upcoming V3 Center location a gateway into North Minneapolis.

“I said to somebody there are seven wonders in the world. Now there are eight. This is just amazing.”

— Martha Arradondo, V3 Supporter

“It’s really inspirational in that it kind of adds to that narrative in my perspective because all these great swimmers and the way that the water is fast and moving. Yeah. It’s just awesome. It’s extremely exciting and we’re thinking about new and innovative ways to incorporate that,” Blasingame recounted.

The Myrtha-designed Olympic Trials Pool was disassembled as soon as the last Olympian qualified for the Summer Games. The pool and filtration system recently arrived at the V3 Center on four semi-trucks!

All told, the V3 team took in 4 heats and watched men and women realize their dreams within two days of the trials. Records were set in the organization’s pool as 53 athletes qualified for the US Olympic Swim Team. That includes 35 first-time Olympians and 11 teenagers! The trials were a grand spectacle for the V3 team, which walked away impressed and inspired.

“I said to somebody there are seven wonders in the world. Now there are eight. This is just amazing. Amazing. Every day there was something new and different and exciting. I don’t want to leave,” V3 supporter and volunteer Martha Arradondo concluded.

Coming soon, you’ll have the chance to hear from swimming royalty, as some of the biggest names in the sport lend their support to V3’s mission to end drowning disparities. We caught up with them in Omaha. Stay tuned!

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