TULSA - The 2012 London Olympics is inspiring young athletes to reach for the stars.
Tulsa native Claire Smiley hopes to make the U.S. Olympic swim team by the time she’s 16 years old. The 9-year-old Miller Swim School student recently got to see the dedication and speed it takes.
Smiley’s parents won VIP tickets to see the Olympic Trials in Nebraska.
“It was amazing, I got to meet a lot of famous swimmers,” she said. “I met Elizabeth Beisel, I walked by Michael Phelps.”
Seeing the competition first hand was eye opening.
“It was amazing, when you’re there they swim a lot faster than it looks like on TV,” she said.
Gina Miller Kinnison with Miller Swim School says it takes a certain type of athlete to actually make it that far.
“It is a lot of hard work and dedication, and you have to be someone that doesn’t burn out easily and wants to put forth those many hours,” Kinnison said.
Kinnison says the Olympics serves to inspire kids to strive for gold.
“We have an increase in interest in swimming. When you have something so big as that, as a Michael Phelps or any of America succeeding, in any kinds of Olympic sports,” she said.
Smiley is part of the school’s swim team, she said it would be an honor to make it to the USA Olympic swim team.
“It’s an honor and it means that you’ve really worked hard to do that sport or that talent that you have,” she said. “I would just love to show that I have a passion for swimming, and no one can stop me.”
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