It’s the chance of a lifetime for two students.
Maddie Hess, 15 and Barbara Carabello, 16, are heading to Omaha next week to participate in the 2012 United States Team Olympic Trials in the hopes of making the U.S. Olympic swim team.
“It’s a really big deal,” said head swim coach for the Brandon Bluewave swim program at the in Brandon, Justin Corriea. “A lot of teams only take one swimmer to trials, and we’re taking two. We’re really proud of them.”
Hess qualified for the trials in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke while Carabello made the cut in the 100-meter butterfly.
“We have swimmers swim for a lifetime trying to make this meet, and these two have made it while they’re still in high school,” said Corriea, who’s been coaching at the BSAC for two years. “It’s a very prestigious honor for them to make the times, which are extremely hard.”
Carabello and Hess will be joined at the trials by three other BSAC-trained swimmers. Also competing in the trials are Jason Taylor who swims for the University of Florida, Tyler Ball swimming for Florida State University and Sharla Milne for the University of Florida.
“Having five swimmers from the center at the U.S. Olympic trials is huge,” said Correia.
The trials begin Monday and Correia said they’ll know immediately if the girls have made the Olympic team.
“If they make the finals, they’ll have a really strong shot at making the team,” said Correia. “You never know what might happen.”
Portions of the swim trials will be broadcast on NBC. A watch party is planned for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at , 926 Providence Rd. in Brandon. Members of the BSAC swim team will be on hand to root for their teammates.
“Maddie will swim the 100 backstroke on Tuesday and, if she makes the finals, she will be on TV,” Correia said.
“I have told both them to enjoy the experience,” said Correia. “Their efforts in training have paid off and they deserve to be there.”
The Bluewave Swim program was developed by former head coach Peter Banks, who now serves as the performance director for the Irish National Team. During Banks’ tenure with the program, from 1989-2009, he coached more than a dozen athletes to the Olympic trials and had two swimmers compete on Olympic teams, Brooke Bennett in 1996 and Maritza Correia in 2004.