Jordan Wilimovsky will be competing at US Olympic Swim Trials this week in Omaha, Nebraska, but the freestyle swimmer has already qualified for the Olympic team. In 2016, Wilimovsky became the first American swimmer to compete in both open water and pool swimming at the Olympics and he is hoping to do it again for the Tokyo Games.
Pre-pandemic, Wilimovsky qualified to represent the USA in the 10km open water event by finishing 5th at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea. Now, he hopes to qualify for the pool team and will be racing the 800m and 1500m freestyle at Olympic Trials. “It would be super cool to qualify for both again,” Wilimovsky says. “It’s really fun to make the pool team because it’s a bigger group of people and it’s really fun to be around all those athletes.”
At Trials, swimmers will be vying for one of 52 spaces on the Olympic team (evenly split between men and women). Compared to the open water team, that makes for a different atmosphere. “It’s fun to be on the open water team because there’s just three of us. It’s pretty small and I know everyone really well,” Wilimovsky says. While there are more opportunities to qualify for the pool team—the top 2 for each event and top 6 for relay distances—for a lot of athletes there can be more pressure than the actual Olympics. “It’s a pretty intense meet,” Wilimovsky says. “There is definitely pressure to make the team and perform well but at the same time I’m pretty lucky that I’ve already got that spot for open water,” Wilimovsky says.
Having already qualified for the Olympics gives Wilimovsky a unique edge to his competition. “The way my coach and I have been approaching it,” Wilimovsky says, “is with the mindset that it’s all bonus from here on out and hopefully you save some energy by not worrying about making the team and having that pressure a lot of other athletes have.” He also says he can enjoy the event more, the buzz of all the athletes and, especially, the ceremony when an athlete qualifies.
“I’m super excited to go and represent the US [at the Olympics],” Wilimovsky smiles. “To add events is just a bonus. The more times I get to represent the better it is.”
For more information on trials, including streaming information (USA) and results, visit: https://www.usaswimming.org.