Lake Orion Graduate Vies for Spot on Olympic Team This Weekend
“A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought I would be at the Olympic tryouts,” Annelise Jongekrijg said.
Recent Lake Orion High School graduate Annelise Jongekrijg didn’t start competitively swimming until her sophomore year in high school.
But after just three years of swimming, the 18-year-old managed to set seven school records, receive a substantial scholarship to Ohio State University and earne a trip to the Olympic Swimming Trials. Five of the school records were individual while the other two were relay records.
After clinching the time cut at the Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix in North Carolina in May by quickly swimming the Women’s 50 Long Course Meter Freestyle, Jongekrijg secured a chance to tryout for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team.
“When I made the cut I was really excited. It was crazy,” she said. “I’m really proud of that.”
She left for the tryouts in Omaha on Wednesday, pleased with the opportunity. The tryouts kicked off on Monday, and she is scheduled to swim on Sunday.
“A year ago I wouldn’t have thought I would be at the Olympic tryouts. I remember my coach saying I would be and I was laughing at him,” she said.
The chances of beating out the other swimmers vying for a place on the Olympic team are slim, she said, but she said her goal is to swim as well as she can at the trials.
Crediting her coaches for her success
In addition to being on the Lake Orion High School’s swim team, she has been a valuable part of Liquid Lightning’s swim team as well. But the star swimmer is relatively new to the sport: it wasn’t until she missed out on being a part of the high school’s soccer team and a few of her friends told her that she would make a good swimmer, that she considered pursuing the sport.
Jongekrijg said that she always enjoyed swimming, but never thought about being on a swim team until high school.
Jongekrijg credited both her high school and Liquid Lightning coaches for pushing her to this point. Her high school coach saw her potential, she said, and suggested she look at joining a swimming club outside of the school for the other nine months out of the year. Jongekrijg took her coach’s advice and started practicing with the Liquid Lightning swim team. She remembers being ‘terrified’ about going to the Liquid Lightning’s practices because they were harder than she was used to.
“My coach is really supportive,” she said, referring to her Liquid Lightning coach Tom Arusoo. “He pushes me really hard, sometimes I think a little too hard, but I’m glad he’s there to push me and keep me on the right track and help me get where I’m going.”
After having such a great experience with coaches, Jongekrijg wanted to continue that at the university level, which is one of the reasons she decided to attend Ohio State University.
“The coach there was a big factor, he was really great,” she said. “The team is also really nice there and I liked the campus.”
Being a Buckeye in the fall is both nerve-racking and exciting, she said. She knows she will be putting in more hours of swimming, though she swims about 19 hours a week now, and expects the competition to be fierce. She is hoping for a slot on a relay team next year, she said. Once at Ohio State University Jongekrijg hopes to study chemistry.
In addition to being a talented swimmer, she spends a lot of her time painting and playing the piano. While in school she was in the National Honor Society and graduated summa cum laude.
“She quietly and unassumingly goes about performing at excellent levels in whatever she attempts,” her mother, Terri Jongekrijg, said.