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A dream deferred

Hart High’s Jordan Danny gets a glimpse of Olympic glory

Posted: July 16, 2008 1:52 a.m.
Updated: September 16, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Jordan Danny, in Omaha, Neb., competed in the U.S. Olympic swim trials earlier this month. Danny, who swims for Hart High, finished 19th in the 200-yard breaststroke and 39th in the 100-breast.

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As Jordan Danny's plane landed in Omaha, Neb. on July 4 for the U.S. Olympic swim trials, rain clouds hovered.

But in Danny's mind, the sun was shining; shining a light on her path to stardom.
Danny had arrived.

The Hart High senior was about to embark upon the first steps in her dream to participate in the Olympics.
She had the weekend to prepare for her first event, the 100-breaststroke which was to take place on Monday, July 7.

The biggest adjustment Danny had to make was getting used to the new and controversial Fastskin LZR Racer suit.

"It takes forever to put on," Danny said of the swimsuit. "When I got into the pool I sank to the bottom because it was too big."

After a size adjustment, Danny took to the pool again with Canyons Aquatic Club swim coach Jeff Conwell and went through her usual workout regiment.

When Monday came around, Danny was ready.

With her family and Conwell in tow, Danny entered the Qwest Center.

"I was so nervous," Danny said. "Every time I walked up the stairs (to the arena) it reminded me of a theme park, like I was getting on a roller coaster."

Walking into an arena with a crowd numbering in the thousands would be a daunting experience for anyone.

However, Danny said meeting some of the athletes that she has admired and looked up to for so long eased her nerves.

But Danny wasn't there as a fan.

She was one of them. One of the many swimmers vying for a spot on the Olympic team.

"It was great to be within a few seats of past Olympians," she said.

She struggled the first 50 yards of the 100-breast, having choked on a bit of water in the first dive but regrouped and finished the event coming in at 1:11.26, just shy of her best ever a 1:10.06.

She tied for 39th.

After two days off, Danny returned on Thursday to compete in the 200-breast, her signature stroke.

By then, Danny said her nerves had subsided.

She opted to not wear the Racer suit and instead wore her FS pro racing suit which she felt more comfortable in.

Technical difficulties before the race didn't faze her. Danny said she felt really good throughout the race.

She finished 19th in the 200-breast setting a mark of 2:31.79, only a few one hundredths from qualifying for the semi-finals.

Although she didn't make the team this year, Danny already has her sights set on returning to the Cornhusker state in 2012.

"In four years I'll be older, stronger, and wiser and I'll know a lot more than I knew this time around." she said. "If I put my mind to it I think that I can make the Olympic team. I have to continue to work hard and be consistent."

Danny said returning home was bittersweet. The experience of the trials was unlike anything the 16-year-old had ever faced.

"It's like nothing I've ever experienced before," she said. "I was happy to be a part of the trials. I was upset about missing the semis by a 10th of a second but it lets me know that anything is possible."

Now Danny sets her sights to the rest of the summer and her senior season with the Indians.

She has already begun preparing for the Junior National and Senior National championships set for later this summer.

Danny said the trials prepared her for anything she may face in her swim career.

She's receiving phone calls from college scouts and looks forward to swimming for a collegiate program that will move her closer to capturing her dream once again.

In Omaha, the weather was gloomy. At the next trials, Danny hopes she will be the one to bring the storm.
"It all just happened too fast, but it's an experience I'll never forget."

wmcneal@the-signal.com

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