News

Spring Grove swimmer headed to Rio Olympics

Written by Jim Seip/York Daily Record | Jul 1, 2016 8:02 AM
hali_flickinger.jpg

Hali Flickinger swims in the women's 200-meter butterfly final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Thursday, June 30, 2016, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

(Undated) -- Hali Flickinger reached across the lane to hug Cammile Adams, and even though Adams had just won Flickinger's expression told the entire story.

Spring Grove's Flickinger, 21, was headed to the Rio Olympics.

Flickinger secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic swimming team with a second-place finish in the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Thursday in Omaha, Nebraska. Top-seeded Adams needed to come from behind in the final 100 meters to pass Flickinger. Adams won in 2 minutes, 6.8 seconds. Flickinger (2:07.50) held off 16-year-old Cassidy Bayer (2:08.68) of Virginia for second-place and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

"I couldn't be more excited to go to Rio with this girl," Adams said before hugging Flickinger in a televised interview with NBC moments after the race.

Still struggling to catch her breath, Flickinger added: "I'm just so excited!"

Swimming in front of another sold-out crowd at the CenturyLink Center, Flickinger needed a top-two finish to qualify her first Olympics.

Flickinger trailed in the first 50 meters of the race, but she stormed to the lead just before the midway point. Adams, who swam at the 2012 Olympics, recovered and re-took the lead before touching the wall with 50 meters to go. Swimming in her typical style, where she turns her head to the left on every other stroke, Adams powered to the wall ahead of the field. Flickinger, however, was the only woman in the eight-swimmer field to stay with the Houston native.

Flickinger's former youth coach, the York YMCA's Michael Brooks, watched the final in Omaha, where he has four swimmers competing this week.

"Well, the last 50 meters when it's pretty much a dogfight, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack," Brooks said.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic and overwhelmed because I know how hard she works every single day."

Flickinger entered the final with the second-fastest seed time, having won her Wednesday night semifinal. She needed to manage a repeat performance to reach her first Olympic Games, but it was not an easy task considering the top three swimmers in the semifinals finished within a fraction of a second of each other. Adams, Flickinger and Bayer were the only swimmers at the Trials to post times under 2:08 in the semifinal, and Adams and Flickinger managed to do the same in the final to secure the Olympic bids.

"I can't believe I'm going to the Olympics," Flickinger said in a televised interview with NBC.

It will mark the second consecutive Olympic Games in which a York County athlete will compete. Glen Rock's Summer Britcher competed in luge at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Flickinger is the first York County swimmer to reach the Olympics since Dallastown teenager Whitney Metzler, swimming for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, reached the Atlanta Games in 1996. Robert Sohl remains York's only Olympic medalist in swimming, bringing home a bronze to complete a U.S. sweep in the 200 breaststroke at the London Games in 1948.

A 2012 Spring Grove graduate, Flickinger is a former York YMCA swimmer who trained under Michael Brooks. She swam for the U.S.A. Swimming Junior National Team as a teenager, and reached the Trials as a 17-year-old and recent Spring Grove graduate in 2012. She just completed her senior season at the University of Georgia for the NCAA national title team, and she is one of more than 40 athletes at the trials from the Athens Bulldog Swim Club.

Even though the York YMCA consistently turns out Division-I caliber swimmers, Flickinger is the first swimmer trained by Brooks to reach the Olympics.

"To see Hali (qualify) was just wonderful," Brooks said.

A versatile swimmer, she qualified to race in seven events at the trials, but she narrowed her load to four events. The 200 fly, however, had always been her best shot at reaching Rio. She entered the trials with the fourth-fastest seed time in the nation.

The U.S. Olympic women's swim team is limited to a maximum of 26 members, with the top two finishers in each event advancing to the Olympic Games.

Note: In other action at the Trials, York YMCA swimmer Meghan Small placed 86th in the 200 breaststroke preliminaries, about 12 hours after placing seventh in the 200 individual medley Wednesday night. ... Recent York Suburban graduate and NBAC swimmer Coleman Stewart placed 78th in the 200 backstroke.


This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News

Tagged under , , , , , , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »