pursued by youth, veteran kelsi dahlia seeks her second Olympic place
by luke randle, swim world intern
The road to Olympic qualification is immensely hard. With the US trials scheduled for next month in Omaha, swimmers will be eager to earn their place in Tokyo. kelsi dahlia (known as kelsi worrell in 2016) is attempting to return to the olympics this summer. Dahlia, 26, competed at the Rio Games in 2016, contesting the 100m fly and winning a gold medal in the 400m medley relay.
The oldest of six children, Dahlia settled into college when she competed for the Louisville Cardinals. She rose to fame at the 2015 NCAA Championships, where she became the first woman to swim the 100-yard butterfly in under 50 seconds. Success at the NCAA level helped launch Dahlia in the United States. national team and a place for the 2016 olympic games.
a gold medal and diploma later, dahlia was able to focus full time on swimming for the united states team and made her presence known with the cali condors in the international swimming league. In early 2020, Dahlia was considered one of the favorites to return to the Olympics, only for the Games to be postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
now, the journey back will be difficult. the United States. has seen an influx of youngsters in the 100 butterfly, with Claire Curzan and Torri Huske, among others, vying for an Olympic spot against Dahlia.
Most of Dahlia’s preparations for the Olympic trials have taken place in her college town of Louisville. At the start of the pandemic, when the pools were closed, Dahlia had an i-pool installed in her backyard, allowing her to get in the water while she waited for the pools to reopen.
Even though he couldn’t swim that far, he stayed consistent with his training. the ground workouts ranged from strength conditioning to playing beat saber, a virtual reality game. Since restrictions were relaxed and pools began to open, Dahlia has been training with Louisville graduates while she works for US tryouts.
even so, things haven’t completely returned to normal, something dahlia pointed out.
“We weren’t able to fully access our facility and reintegrate with the u of l team until after his college season was over and even then, I still haven’t been back in the weight room,” dahlia said. . “I had to be creative. I have a full weight room in my garage right now so I can do pretty much everything in there, but I also started lifting weights in my physical therapy office so I can have some eyes on me to make sure I’m lifting correctly.”
strength is a key element dahlia mentioned. she is excited to show off the strength she has developed over the years. dahlia has a consistent regimen that goes into trials. she mentioned that going into these olympics, things are different. dahlia graduated from louisville shortly before rio. Being a full-time professional swimmer has changed the way she approaches the sport.
“The three biggest differences are taking control of my schedule, in terms of when I travel and also my recovery schedule,” Dahlia said. “The recovery side of things is much more important. I make sure to schedule my physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic appointments every week, in addition to doing my normatec, foam rolling, and other modalities at home. the last point is the mental side of things. now it’s my responsibility to do well and it’s not for the team, it’s just for me. you have to have a bit more of an egotistical mindset. that took an adjustment. It was definitely a mindset shift to know that I’m doing this for my family a little bit more than just my NCAA team.”
dahlia currently plans to compete in the 100 fly, 100 free and 50 free in omaha. As the Olympic trials approach, she has a clear focus.
“I haven’t allowed myself to think about Tokyo,” Dahlia said. “I want to qualify first. I’m just focused on testing right now and then I’ll allow myself to be excited for training camp in Hawaii and then Tokyo.”
dahlia credits god for putting her in the position she is in now.
“last year, i relied on a few different names of god which brought me a lot of comfort and peace…” dahlia said. “I am the oldest of six brothers and it has always been difficult for me to trust that God will provide. (god helped me) move house, become a professional swimmer, trusting that I won’t have to worry about finances, because every year my stipends and income (depend) on my world ranking. it is very volatile and therefore (it has helped) not stress about it. And then also, without knowing what the last year of the pandemic would be like, I have this supernatural peace that I can only attribute to God.”