Swimming: Vernon Hills’ Rowland qualifies to Olympic Trials
Updated: August 6, 2012 2:17AM
Former Vernon Hills High School and CATS Aquatic star swimmer Melanie Rowland qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200-meter butterfly during the Speedo Sizzler Meet, held in Baltimore.
Rowland made the cut by finishing the race in 2:15.76. The Olympic Trials will take place in Omaha from June 25 to July 2.
“Since I was 13, my goal was to qualify for the Olympic Trials,” said Rowland, now a member of the Towson University (Md.) women’s swimming team. “I’ve been lucky enough to have the success I’ve had because of listening to the great coaches I’ve had. I never missed a practice (other than being sick) since the beginning of high school. And the greatest thing I learned while on CATS Aquatic was that there is no substitute for hard work. One thing I would tell younger swimmers is to remember to always trust your coaches and realize there is more than just one right way to reach your goals.”
Added CATS Aquatic head coach Jeff Arce: “Melanie is one of the hardest working swimmers I have ever been around. Her dedication, work ethic and passion are contagious. Every day at practice, her goals were to get faster, and that usually meant swimming harder each day.”
Fellow CATS Aquatic coach Kevin Zakrzewski also sang Rowland’s praises.
“Since I’ve coached at CATS Aquatic, my growth as a coach is partially attributed to Melanie,” he said. “It’s been amazing to watch her attitude and work ethic on a daily basis, and also her ability to help groom some of the younger swimmers.”
More CATS: Nine members of CATS Aquatic will attempt to make the cut for the U.S. Olympic Trials during the Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational, set for Friday through Sunday, in Omaha.
The list includes Connor Black — who already qualified in the 100 butterfly at the Speedo Sizzler Meet — as well as Kyle Aerne, Chad Church, Zoe Eldridge, Anna Gray, Peter Grumhaus, Matt Harrington, Whitney Mitchell and Alex Snarski.
Michelle Garland and Langston Fitts also qualified for the Swimvitational, but both are unable to attend the event.
The CATS swimmers are coached by Vlad Pyshnenko, a former Russian freestyler who won a gold medal and two silvers during the 1992 Summer Olympics, and one silver at the 1996 Olympics, in Atlanta.