SPOKANE, Wash. — In the 100 meter breaststroke, you have to be fast, and especially fast if you want to qualify for the Olympic trials.
Eighteen-year-old Spokane swimmer Ryan Foote was at the Junior Nationals with that goal in mind. He needed a time of 1:30.29 to do it.
"It was my goal this whole year," Foote said. "I wasn't expecting it, but I knew I could do it."
In his first race, he came up short of the time needed qualify. In his second race later that night, he came up short too. The next day in a time trial, he came up short again.
"I came there to do it and I wasn't going to leave without getting that time," the Mead High graduate said with a laugh.
His persistence paid off.
On his next time trial on the third day, he got the time he needed by .04 seconds.
"It's a fun story to tell because he didn't give up," Foote's club swimming coach Sean Muncie said. "He didn't mope about it. Of course he was disappointed, but he kept attacking it and kept attacking it."
Foote was exhausted, but thrilled.
"I was like, 'finally'," he said.
It's even more impressive that he qualified considering the breaststroke has been his main swimming style for only two years. He swam long distance races in his younger years before switching to the fast 100 meters.
"I guess sprinting is a lot more fun because it's shorter," the University of Arizona bound swimmer said. "It's just more exciting."
He says since he hasn't been doing the breaststroke long, he has a lot he'd like to improve on.
But he believes his work ethic and persistence will makes him as good as he wants to be.
For now he's good enough to make the Olympic trials. That's pretty darn good.
Foote will spend the next year as a freshman swimmer at the University of Arizona. The Olympic trials are in June 2020 in OMaha, Nebraska. Foote will need to finish top two there to be on the USA Olympic team.