Spartans to represent Northwest at Olympic swimming trials

June 26, 2012

By Matt Carstens

Andie Taylor

For a school that opened a mere 15 years ago, the fact that Skyline High School has produced two potential Olympic athletes is nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, Katie Kinnear and Andie Taylor’s former coach was at a loss words.

“It’s just kind of unbelievable,” Skyline girls swimming coach   Susan Simpkins said. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of swimming. When you swim, you want to swim at the Olympics.”

Taylor graduated from Skyline in 2010 and just finished her sophomore year at Stanford University. At Skyline, she was a seven-time individual state champion and led Skyline to the state title her senior year. The success continued at Stanford, where she earned All-American honors in both of her first two years.

Kinnear also was a seven-time individual state champion and she took Skyline to its second and third consecutive state championships. Kinnear just graduated and is planning to attend UCLA in the fall.“Both Katie and Andie were incredible swimmers and assets to our program,” Simpkins said. “They were really an inspiration to the other swimmers. Their work ethic was incredible, they were highly motivated and everybody loved watching both of them swim. They added depth to the program and they were really good students as well as athletes, their GPAs were way up there.”

With London looming, the Olympic trials for swimming are taking place this week in Omaha, Neb. It will be the second time for both swimmers at the trials, and both are equally thrilled this time around.

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“I went four years ago, when I was 13,” Kinnear said. “And that was fun, but I was going more for the experience and this time I kind of know what to expect. I have a few more events than I had last time. It was really fun, but there’s more pressure this time around.”

Kinnear, who was ranked in the 100s in her previous Olympic trials, is ranked as high as 33rd in one of her events, the 100-meter butterfly.

“This time, my main goal is to make semifinals, which are the top 16,” she said. “That would be really cool. From there you can make it to eight finals, but I just want to make the semifinals and get best time. I’m just looking at it like any normal championship meet I’ve been to before, just another opportunity to drop time.”

Along with the 100-meter butterfly, Kinnear will compete in the 200-meter butterfly and the 100- and 200-meter backstroke.

As for Taylor, this time around is much more about swimming, as opposed to 2008, when she spent the whole time picking her jaw up off the ground.

“In 2008 I came, didn’t perform very well, but it was kind of a new experience and it was just really cool to see all the big names,” Taylor said. “To see the team break world records, it was quite a show. So now I’m back and walking to the pool is funny, it looks identical to 2008. Same set up exactly.

“Hopefully this one will be a little bit better, but I’m just going to go in and I’m excited to see all my other teammates. I know several girls that have a good shot at making the team so I’m excited to cheer them on.”

Taylor will compete in the 400-meter individual medley, the 400-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly.

“Now I’ve done it before, it’ll still be exciting and I’ll be nervous,” Taylor said. “And it’ll still be an intense atmosphere. I won’t feel like a pro by any means, but it’ll be nice knowing what to expect, knowing the lights are going to be on and the big pool area is really bright, and there’ll be fireworks and all the fans.”

Even with the fireworks and fanfare, Taylor said she doesn’t have any specific goals when it comes to the pool.

“I’m not really thinking about certain times I’m hoping to hit or anything like that,” she said. “I’m just going to go in and just try to race people next to me and if I can move up a few places maybe make a semifinal. We’ll see.”

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