(Posted June 23, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Eli Stoll has his first Olympic Trials experience under his belt, and he’s hoping for a second when the Summer Olympics roll around again in three years.
The 17-year-old swimmer from Plain City qualified for this year’s Olympic Trials in the 100-meter backstroke. He traveled to Omaha, Neb., for his shot at making the U.S. Olympic swim team. On June 4, he swam in the Wave 1 meet. He finished 24th out of 60 with a time of 56.63, the seventh fastest time among swimmers age 18 and younger.
While he didn’t make the team–they only take two athletes per event–Stoll said he enjoyed and learned a lot from his first go in the Olympic spotlight.
“It definitely was nerve-racking but it was an awesome experience. The pool was huge; it was like no other place I’ve ever swam,” he said. “To be on the deck of the Olympic Trials pool and know you’re swimming there, it was awesome.”
Stoll appreciated the special treatment he and his fellow competitors received. For example, everyone who competed in the trials received a kick board and a water bottle with their name on it. He also walked away with something intangible but valuable just the same.
“It was more like experience for next time. That’s what I got out of it,” he said. “Having one down will prepare me better for next time. There was a lot of pressure on this one, being the first one. I think there will be less stress the second time since I will have already been there.”
With the goal of returning to the Olympic Trials in the back of his mind, Stoll is now focusing on more immediate pursuits.
“I just want to train hard, get back into it,” he said. “I have colleges I’m looking at now. I’m focusing on getting good times for them.”
Stoll is a member of the Greater Columbus Swim Team of Ohio. He also competes on the swim team at Jonathan Alder High School where he will be a junior this fall. He is the son of Dawn and Gary Stoll.
The 2021 Summer Olympics are scheduled for July 23-Aug. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.