Smoliga Wins Backstroke Event at Hawaii Tourney
Her first competition following Olympic trials, Glenview's top swimmer shined at the Junior Pan Pacific swimming championships in Hawaii last weekend. Next for Olivia, it's back to school at Glenbrook South and a college visit to Texas this weekend.
A tired but happy Olivia Smoliga arrived home late Tuesday afternoon from the Junior Pan Pacific swimming championships in Hawaii with no break to catch her breath.
Hard on the heels of her 100-meter backstroke victory at the outdoor meet in Hawaii, Glenview’s Smoliga hit the books Wednesday at Glenbrook South after missing the first four days of the new school year.
She will also be back in the pool Wednesday for practice as the senior captain of the school’s swimming team. Then it’s back on a plane Friday to the Universty of Texas in the first of a series of weekend college visits.
In Hawaii, Smoliga nailed first in the 100-meter competition with a time of 1:01.03.
“I knew it would be tough on the USA side,” Smoliga said. “Pan Pac was such as small meet. I had to mentally prepare to win. Coaches were so amazing. It felt really good to win. It boosted my confidence.”
Smoliga also finished second in the 50-meter freestyle Sunday.
“I wasn’t expecting anything in 50, to be honest,” she said. “I just went in there (to compete), whatever, it’s my last event. That was a fun event.”
And it wasn’t all about competitive swimming. Smoliga and fellow swimmers got to enjoy Hawaii’s sand and surf, along with the sky above.
“Oh, my gosh, this was the most fun I’ve ever had on a trip,” she said. “Everyone was so friendly. The last two days, we were at the beach, cliff-dived and swam with dolphins. We snorkeled.”
The travel home was tough, though. Smoliga left Hawaii, five hours behind Chicago, late Monday night. She changed planes in San Francisco after a more than three-hour layover. So her classmates will be advised to help her keep her eyes open in school Wednesday.
After a whirlwind summer of competition at the Olympic Trials in Omaha and the Hawaii tourney, Smoliga will return to inter-scholastic meets later in September.
Do you think Olivia Smoliga will have a shot at the 2016 Olympics as a college swimmer? Share with us in the comments or sound off on Facebook!