VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A week ago Friday, 18-year-old Cason Wilburn and 16-year-old Samantha Tadder just did something big in the swimming world.
They both qualified for the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials.
Only 0.5 percent of swimmers in the country ever qualify for the trials, and the cuts, based on specific swim times, include all college swimmers.
Wilburn swims for East Coast Aquatic Team and Tadder swims for TIDE Swimming, but both are First Colonial High School students.
“Right now, it’s still excitement because I made it,” said Wilburn. “I’m sure as it gets closer I’ll get a lot more nervous.”
It’s the first time more than one local swimmer has qualified for the trials since 1988.
Wilburn qualified for the 100 Meter Butterfly with a time of 54.16.
Tadder qualified for the 400 Meter Individual Medley with a time of 4:50:33.
Both have been swimming since they were four and five years old, both spend more than four hours a day training outside of school, and both know the pressure will be on next summer when they head to Omaha, Nebraska for the eight-day event.
“I’ve heard it’s very nerve-racking,” said Tadder. “Everyone is trying to fight for a top-two spot.”
The Trials are the sole qualifier for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team.
Only the top two seeds in each event make the team.
The top six seeds in freestyle can make the team for relay spots.