VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Many of you watched Friday night as Callie Dickinson’s Olympic Trials swim was broadcast live on WAVY-TV 10.
On Wednesday, we caught up with her to hear about her experience. Of course, we found Callie at the pool.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking getting ready to swim,” Dickinson said.
This was her first time swimming under the bright lights in such a large arena.
“The nights I swam, every night was a sold out crowd. And the stadium held 18,000 people.”
But Dickinson has swam in very competitive meets before, and kept her composure.
“When you walked out, you kind of saw everybody and were like, ‘Wow.’ But right as you’re about to jump in, you just kind of focus and zoned it all out,” she said.
Callie did well in her first three events — but it was the fourth that was her best: shaving two seconds off her 200m backstroke time and advancing to the semi finals. Her goal all along was to make a semi-final.
“I definitely was shocked. I was excited because I knew it would take around a 2:12 to make it to semi-finals and I was one of the top people in my heat. So I knew it was going to be really close and I was really proud to see the time.”
In the semi-finals, Dickinson shared the pool with world record holder Missy Franklin. Franklin clinched the heat and Callie’s road to Rio ended there.
“It was definitely an amazing experience. I wouldn’t trade it. It was the best thing and it definitely was my favorite meet I’ve ever been to and it was definitely the biggest meet I’ve ever been to.”
Callie returned home Monday with pride, and a world of experience in her pocket. But there’s no rest for the swimmer with her sights set now on 2020. The very next morning after her return, it was back in the pool.
“There’s always another meet to prepare for. You always have to get back to work right away.”
Callie plans now to focus on making the National Junior Team, a swim team made up of the top under-18 swimmers in the country that competes on the national level.