Wahpeton Native, Shanley Alum Anderson Competing in Olympic Trials
Swimming in the 50 meter freestyle on June 7th in Omaha
FARGO, N.D. — The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics are only 51 days away and the Olympic Trials are underway to determine who get to represent the united states. That includes swimming on Monday in Omaha Nebraska where one local athlete is turning his dream into a reality.
It’s the TYR Cup in Des Moines, Iowa and Eric Anderson needs better than a 23.19 in the 50 meter freestyle to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
23.04 second place less than two tenths off not making the cut, however it wasn’t all celebration to get to that point. In the year leading up to the race, Anderson was half a second to two tenth of a second off that time.
“I didn’t expect him to get it to be completely honest. I tell this all the time to everyone who asks,” his coach Tim Anderson said. “Just because he had been missing it for the last by a little bit here and a little bit there. I didn’t want to set me or him for any huge disappointment. Let’s go there. Let’s have fun and race. He did that at the best level he’s ever done.”
Anderson realized the potential for this moment when seeing progression in 7th grade and then freshman year it was time to work towards it.
“Little drops here and there then we had a big drop about two years ago at a big meet for me and that really was the opening for this to make it an actually reality,” Anderson said.
The first two years of high school Anderson spent in his hometown of Wahpeton. Winning state in the 50 free and going back-to back in the 100 meter freestyle. While those were great accomplishments in order to accomplish goals even further it would take transferring to Shanley for the final two years of his high school career.
“I wanted a normal team. I wanted to be able to practice more,” Anderson said. “Make a bigger commitment because I was driving to practice everyday up here. We have a pool down in wahpeton but my coach was already up here for high school. I just kept coming up anyways so we just decided to make the move.”
“He was by himself for a year or two and doing all the meets by himself, his coach said. “Doing all the training sessions by himself. It’s difficult. It’s lonely. For him to move her and have teammates who are struggling with him at practice and the journey. Being able to be on relays and score points for your team and have the opportunity to win competitions. It made a huge difference.”
The 54-minute drive up interstate 29 to Fargo paid off. It provided this opportunity to compete on the national stage and now that it’s here the door is open as far as Anderson wants to take it.
“It’s going to the level where the professional athletes are and where all the big names in swimming are,” Anderson said. “This meet just sets the stage and that’s why I wanted to strive to get to that point. I wanted to strive to get into those big meets. Have fun and try to go compete with them.”
“He’s a competitor so he’s going to want to go there and want to win his heat and want to make finals,” his coach said. “That’ll certainly be the goal. To go there and give the best performance of his life and that’s difficult because he just had the best performance of his life so when that moment comes, he’ll be ready and give it his best shot.”
On Monday, Anderson swims in the wave one meet. The top two qualifiers from the 50 free advance on to wave two which takes place June 13-20 and the team is selected from there.