Online Originals: Local swimmer to compete in US Olympic Trials

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — One of Eastern North Carolina’s own is preparing to compete in the US Olympic Trials next month with a possible spot on the US Olympic team on the horizon.

Emma Hastings, 17, is a junior at J.H. Rose High School. She will represent East Carolina Aquatics at the Olympic Team Trials for swimming in Omaha, Neb. In January she earned a qualifying time of 8:47.30 in the Women’s 800-meter Freestyle during the TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Richmond, Va.

The NC State commit was 16 when she qualified for the trials, ranking her in the top ten in the country for her age division at the time.

“It means a lot, especially because I work with my teammates and I see how hard they work,” said Hastings. “So, it’s good to see your progress work out and know that what you are doing is worth it, because obviously there are a lot of sacrifices that come with swimming.”  

Hastings joins several other ECA swimmers in the history books to qualify for the trials, including Lauren Perdue — who won a gold medal in London in 2012 — as well as Matt Houser, Philip Perdue, Rokas Cepulis, Attilla Kiraly and Erle Craven.

“Emma’s 12-year journey through the ECA program has been marked by hard work, dedication and many great coaches along the way. She was just a beginner when she came to us, and now she is world ranked because of who she is as an athlete and the support she has received. I think that’s special for everyone involved,” said Casey Charles, ECA Head Coach.

Hastings began swimming with ECA when she was 5. She tells 9OYS this has been a dream of hers for a while.

“I practice about ten times a week. I give up a lot for this sport but I am glad that it’s all paying off,” said Hastings. “I’m super excited to represent Greenville and my team. I love my team!”

USA Swimming divided this year’s trials into two competitions due to COVID-19 precautions. Wave I will compete on June 4-7, followed by Wave II on June 13-20. Top finishers from Wave I will move on to Wave II to compete for the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the Summer Olympics, which will be held July 23-Aug. 8 in Tokyo.

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