MH student qualifies for 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials

Jordan Wilimovsky. Courtesy of Wendy Wilimovsky

On Jan. 22, Malibu High school senior Jordan Wilimovsky swam the race of his life. His reward? An invitation to the United States Olympic swim trials.

Competing against some of the best swimmers on the West Coast, Wilimovsky finished second overall in the 1500 meter freestyle at the Washington Open in Seattle.

His blazing time of 15 minutes, 51 seconds was four seconds faster than his previous all-time best and two seconds faster than the U.S. Olympic qualifying time. Wilimovsky, who swims for Team Santa Monica, is the only American age group swimmer on the west side of Los Angeles to have qualified for the event.  

“I wasn’t expecting to make the time at that meet,” Wilimovsky, 17, said. “When I saw the time, I was really excited. Coach (Dave Kelsheimer) came up to me and said, ‘Congratulations. Now your training really begins for trials.’”

The U.S. Olympic swim trials will be held in Omaha, Neb. from June 25 to July 2. There, Wilimovsky will compete with more than 45 swimmers for two available spots representing the U.S. Olympic swim team in the 1500 freestyle at this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

Wilimovsky will strive for his personal record while sharing the same pool that week with iconic American swimming legends Michael Phelps, Janet Evans and Dana Torres, who will be attempting to qualify for the Games in their own respective events.

“If I can get my personal best that’s all I can ask for,” Wilimovsky said. “But being around them will be a cool experience.”

The 1500 meter freestyle is the longest event in swimming. In a 50 meter pool, it consists of swimming 30 laps. The last quarter mile was Wilimovky’s fastest quarter mile of the race. As he touched the pad and raised his head out of the pool to see his time, the mark of 15:51.60 was listed next to his lane number. Pure jubilation came across his face as he jumped out of the pool and celebrated with his coach.“Then I immediately texted my family,” Wilimovsky said. “It was awesome.”

Wilimovsky trains five days a week on a regimented schedule. He wakes up each morning at 4:30 a.m. and practices at either Palisades Charter or the Culver City plunge from 5:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. After swimming 6,000 to 7,000 yards, he attends school at MHS from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Yet his day is only half over. Wilimovsky practices again from 3:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m at Santa Monica City College and completes an additional 8,000 to 9,000 yards of swimming.

Ten workouts a week and getting up each day at 4:30 a.m. exemplifies the true dedication and commitment set forth by Wilimovsky.

“Jordan is a fighter. He is going to work as hard as he can to reach his goals,” Team Santa Monica Coach Dave Kelsheimer said. “It’s an exciting time for him. It only happens once every four years. You only get one or two chances in a lifetime to do this.”

Wilimovsky has been a competitive swimmer since the age of nine. He is currently the California/Nevada Sectional Champion in the 1500 and he placed seventh at the U.S. Open Water Nationals in Florida last June. This past weekend, he won the 1650 at the SoCal Regional Junior Olympics at East L.A. City College.

“He is a late bloomer and will only get faster as he develops,” Kelsheimer said. “He has several more great years in front of him.”

Wilimovsky holds four school records at MHS and lifeguards at the school’s pool on weekends.  He has participated in the LA County Junior Lifeguard program every summer since the age of nine, which is what got him interested in swimming. Wilimovsky is currently being recruited to swim at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, and he hopes to make a decision by April.

“I am real excited to swim in college,” Wilimovsky said. “I would love to make the NCAAs at some point. But first I have to keep training hard in preparation for the trials and trust in what my coaches tell me to do.”