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swim120As summer 2011 approaches, competitive swimmers across America are intensifying their training with the goal of reaching the U.S. Olympic Trials held in Omaha during June 2012. A talented group of young athletes from the Lansing Community Aquatic Team (LCATs) recently traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan for national competition in a Grand Prix meet with Olympic Trial qualifying times in sight.

One LCAT swimmer, Erin McElfresh (16), will receive an invitation to try out for the U.S. Olympic team next summer and other team members inched closer to the coveted 'Trials' qualifying times.

Ms. McElfresh scorched the University of Michigan pool with 1:01.49 and 2:15.00 swims in the 100 and 200 Meter Fly events. Her times surpassed the Olympic Trial qualifying times of 1:01.99 and 2:16.49, thus marking the first time in the 17-year history of the LCATs that a swimmer will compete at the Trials.

"We are all extremely proud of Erin. It takes a good deal more than talent to achieve what she has. She's worked very hard for a very long time and has done so with humility and grace.  She has set the bar a little higher for all of the other kids on our club and there are quite a few who are motivated by her successes. They know they'd like to get there (Olympic Trials) too and there are a few who have a decent shot - whether it's in 2012 or 2016. It's as special for them as it is for Erin," remarked Coach Reed Dewey who accompanied swimmers to Michigan.

Coach Bob Terry echoed those sentiments, adding "It's very special for Erin, but equally so for the other kids, the coaches, the families on the club, and the Lansing community."

Several other LCATs lowered their times while gaining valuable experience at the Michigan meet, competing in the same events as Olympians Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, and many others. Hans Roser (22), who continues to swim for the LCATs as student at Wright State University, moved closer to an Olympic Trials invitation by turning in 1:07.40 and 2:25.08 times in the 100 and 200 Meter Breaststroke events. These swims put Hans within only a few seconds of an invitation to Omaha. Matthew Heise (18), Emily O'Brien (17), and her sister Natalie O'Brien (15) also placed themselves in excellent positions to make runs at 'Trials' qualifying times during the next 13 months.

The LCAT long course (Olympic-style, 50-meter swimming) season has just begun for all swimmers, with many outstanding opportunities to compete against some of the best athletes in the Eastern U.S. The local team will represent Lansing as swimmers travel to the Rutgers, Buffalo, Penn State, Stanford, and Pittsburgh University pools this summer.

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