Breanna Robinson knows her chances to swim in the London Olympics this summer are very long, or very slim depending on who is asking, but the opportunity is still there. Robinson qualified for the Olympic Time Trials earlier this spring in Oxford, Ohio, in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:17.83. The event, which Robinson admitted wasn’t something she initially intended to shoot for, does land her a spot in Omaha in the preliminaries this Saturday.
“I have no idea. I’m just thinking about the one race, and thinking about what I am going to do,” Robinson said of the assumed atmosphere this Saturday. “This is just another chance to swim. I’ll do my best, and we’ll see what happens.”
The long odds, not just because the best in the United States are converging on Omaha, but because Robinson’s time is seeded 191st (of 208) and just the top two finishers will qualify for London. Among those in the 200 back are Missy Franklin, who may be one of the best event swimmers in the world and seeded first with a time of 2:05.10, which is the American record. There are 12 times that are under 2:12, which Robinson admitted is among those long odds this weekend.
“I think it would be really neat to see (a drop in time), I definitely want to go my best time but I haven’t thought about being up there with the top times. I just want to do well,” Bre said. “It will definitely be neat to see everybody there, but it isn’t going to be ‘oh my gosh’. I’ve been to some meets where Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps were there. It doesn’t really seem to bother me right now. I’m not competing against them, I’m just swimming with them.”
What was ironic about Robinson’s qualification for Omaha was she hadn’t really swam the backstroke much in full competition all winter. Just a month before, the Wawasee High School freshman had just finished second and third in the 200 and 100 freestyles at the IHSAA state finals. Robinson had not swam the backstroke, which at the high school level is just 100 meters, because senior sister Brittany had swam the back all season. Brittany’s runner-up finish at state in the backstroke (but trumped by a state-record title performance in the butterfly) but was followed up by a heartbreaking near miss in the trials at Olympic qualifying.
“That was really disappointing, but I’m still really happy for Bre,” the University of Louisville-bound Brittany said, still pining through the seed times of the Time Trials. “There will be a lot of really good swimmers there, and this will be a good thing for her to get some experience.”
Bre qualified for Omaha by taking second place on March 22 at the Ohio Central Zone Sectionals held at the University of Miami, Ohio.
Preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. this Saturday for the backstroke, which Bre will swim in one of the early heats. Should Robinson make it through preliminaries, the semi-finals begin Saturday afternoon with the finals happening Sunday.
Overall, there will be 12 girls from the state of Indiana swimming in the 200-meter backstroke trials, the highest-seeded is 23-year-old Ashley Jones at 10th with a time of 2:11.62. No matter the fate of Bre, she will have a set of championship fans in the stands.
“Honestly, when you are the coach and mom it is really hard to sit back and enjoy the moments,” began Julie Robinson, Bre’s mom and coach at WHS. “What I want most for my daughter as her coach and mom is to go to Omaha and just enjoy every moment. Breathe it all in and realize how amazing it is just to make it there. No matter the outcome.”
Stacey Page Online will post results as it becomes available from the Olympic Time Trials along with reaction from Omaha.