An injury can be one of the hardest things to overcome in sports and, for someone hoping to reach their first Olympic team, it can be even harder.
This is the case for Katy Freeman, who had surgery to repair a shattered foot in January.
After recovering from her Winter Nationals injury, the Concord native enters the ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships at Stanford on Tuesday ready for national and international competition.
“I’m looking at this meet as a stepping stone,” Freeman said. “To qualify for [the Pan American games] and to compete internationally before the [Olympic] trails would be amazing.”
Freeman’s performance at nationals could qualify her for the Pan American Games in October, which would be invaluable experience before the Olympic trials next summer.
Her goal for nationals is “to continue progressing and get further than I have been.”
Freeman, who graduated from Carondelet High School in 2005, finished third in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2010 nationals. Freeman will be competing in the 100 and 200 breaststroke beginning Thursday.
“My training has been really good,” she said.
She will get to compete in front of friends and family, something that has become rarer since she joined the U.S. national team in 2009.
“I’m pretty excited,” Freeman said. “[My boyfriend, his family and I] talk about [swimming] a lot and they’ll finally get to see it in action, which is nice.”
Freeman expects around 15 people to be in Palo Alto supporting her.
Her training has tapered off as nationals has gotten closer and her familiarity with the pool at Stanford should benefit Freeman.
“I was a synchronized swimmer at first,” Freeman said of the first time she competed at Stanford. “To know every aspect of the pool layout, being able to visualize the venue is huge.”
But she will not be the only Bay Area native competing this week.
Palo Alto High School senior-to-be and U.S. national team member Jasmine Tosky will also be competing after coming back from the FINA World Championships in China.
WHERE: Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford