Lakeridge grads Mara Newman and Ellie Jew qualify for U.S. Olympic Trials
There's a lot of work still to be done — and additional events to qualify for — but Lakeridge High School grads Mara Newman and Ellie Jew are both headed to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
Newman, a 2018 Lakeridge grad preparing for her sophomore season as a member of the University of Wisconsin women's swim team, will compete in the 100-meter backstroke and — she hopes — the 200 back as well.
Jew, a 2019 LHS grad getting ready for her freshman year on the University of Arizona women's swim team, will compete in the 100 breaststroke and hopes to qualify in other events as well.
The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials are scheduled for June 21-28, 2020, at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Needless to say, both the former Pacers are excited about the opportunity.
"I have been swimming and going to meets with Ellie for years now, and even though we won't be competing for the same team anymore, I am beyond proud of her and so excited to see her thrive in the coming year in college and when it comes to swimming at the Trials," Newman said.
"Mara and I have always trained and traveled together," Jew said. "It was a really special moment for us to qualify for Trials at the same meet since we've been apart all year. I'm so thankful to have had her there."
Both swimmers notched their qualifying marks during the 2019 Speedo Summer Sectional Championship, held July 18-21 at Mt. Hood Community College.
Newman, who swam for UCLA as a freshman before transferring to Wisconsin, competed in five races at the Summer Sectional meet, winning the 100 back with a time of 1 minute, 3.15 seconds to earn her spot in the Olympic Trials.
"The key to success for me was having a good mental state," Newman said. "I wasn't in very good physical shape swimming at that meet so I had to trust in other parts of my swimming abilities."
Newman also competed in the 200 back, 50 freestyle, 100 free, 100 butterfly and three relays; besides her success in the 100 back, Newman's best finish at sectionals was second-place finish in the 200 backstroke at 2:17.47.
Jew, a 2019 Three Rivers League champion in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, competed in three races at the Summer Sectional, taking third in the 100 breaststroke 1:10.84 to secure her spot at the Trials.
"The key … was consistency in practice this season and working really hard," Jew said. "My coach, Emily Melina, was very helpful and smart about how I trained this season and focused all my practices on getting better at the 100 breaststroke."
Jew also competed in the 200 breaststroke, 200 IM and three relays; besides her success in the 100 back, Jew's best finish at sectionals was a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Now, both swimmers are aiming for success at college and are determined to add more qualifying times to expand their chances at the Olympic Trials.
"Right now, it's a little early to be saying my exact goals for Trials, but I definitely am hoping for a best time and to semifinal or final would be amazing," Jew said. "(And) even though we'll be competing on different teams at Trials, it'll be really fun to see (Newman) there and cheer her on."
"My goal is to make semifinals (or) at least the top 16," added Newman, who made finished in the Pac 12's top eight in both the 100 back and 50 free to qualify for the NCAA's 2019 championship meet.
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