Swimming for Rio

Finals 100 Butterfly  Kelsi Worrell

University of Louisville swimmer Kelsi Worrell might just be swimming for the United States this summer in the Olympic Games in Rio. The senior already has two NCAA championships, a gold and silver at the Pan American games and a 100 meter butterfly win at the USA swimming national championships in San Antonio last summer. She will swim for UofL in the NCAA championships March 16-19 in Atlanta, Georgia. This summer, the New Jersey native tackles the United States Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, from June 26 to July 3.

What do you like most about swimming?

There’s so much that I love. I love racing, even the process of training. There are some days where it’s really painful, really hard, but training with your team is great.

What is a normal day like for a college swimmer?

We’re swimming at 6 a.m. for an hour and a half in the morning. We’ll lift weights around 1 in the afternoon, and then we’ll swim for another two hours until 4:30. And then you have to squeeze your classes in there somehow.

Is that seven days a week?

Wednesday is our recovery day, and it’s probably the best day of the week. We get to sleep in a little bit, especially if you don’t have an 8 a.m. class.

So what is your definition of sleeping in?

I probably still wake up between 7 and 8.

How did the international success that you experienced last summer make you a better swimmer?

Just winning on a bigger platform gives you so much confidence. Building experience and bringing that to the Trials in June is huge. I can’t put a price tag on that at all.

Is there a moment that you are most looking forward to, like walking out during the Opening Ceremony at the Olympics in August?

I haven’t really let myself daydream to that yet. We have to get through the Trials.

What was your reaction the first time you saw one of your banners on the UofL campus?

I didn’t want it. I told Arthur [Albiero] that I didn’t win my sophomore year because I didn’t want to be on the side of the pool. I don’t like being up there, but it’s for recruiting purposes. So if we want to get better as a team, we have to showcase what we’ve done as a team.

Am I wrong that you would rather win a relay medal than an individual medal?

I really don’t like that other girls don’t get to experience this with me too. I don’t like the spotlight, and I just really like to share it. We all fight together. We’re all doing the same practices, and we all work just as hard.

Has your faith always been as big a part of your life as it is now?

High school is when I realized that my swimming was kind of coming in front of my relationship with God and that I had to take that summer off. I didn’t go to my junior national meet because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t idolizing my swimming. I ended up taking a mission trip to Poland instead of competing and swimming that summer just to remember, “Hey God, my swimming is for you.”

Are you involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at UofL?

Yes, that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come here. I got to meet Chris Morgan on my recruiting trip. The swimmers know that it’s an option here; we’re not forcing you, but it’s a big part. We have devotional before every home meet.

Photo courtesy of UofL Sports Information