PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Young Callie Dickinson didn’t think she was a very good swimmer the first time she ever got into a pool.
In fact, her father can remember the first time he tried to get Callie in the water. She latched on to her father’s leg, a little tentative to test things out.
These days, it’s hard to get Callie, 15, out of the water. Now a freshman at Norfolk Academy, she’ll spend the next 17 months training for the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
At the Pro Swim Series in Austin, Tex. on Jan. 17, she qualified with a time of 2:14.83 in the 200-meter back stroke.
Not only did she shave five seconds off her previous time, Callie made the cut by two seconds and made her mark with “one of the top 50 swims in the history of the sport in her age group,” according to Josh Fulton, Callie’s coach at Tide Swim.
“I knew it was going to be close,” said Callie, talking about the meet in Texas.
Her older sister, Anna, swam in the same event and said her “jaw dropped” when she looked up and saw her sister’s time at the end of the race.
Also in the stands, the man who’s leg Callie wouldn’t let go of as a 7-year old. “I was absolutely in awe,” said Bill Dickinson, who shed a fear tears watching his daughter finish third, swimming in the lane beside two-time Olympic gold-medalist Kirsty Coventry.
Although Callie is still a longshot to make the 2016 United States Olympic team at just 16 years old, she believes she’ll eventually be wearing red, white, and blue.