It was an eye-opening, if not confidence-building week for Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy alumnus Kirsten Vose and Glendale High junior Trenton Julian at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials in Omaha, Neb.
The two former All-Area Swimmers of the Year earned advancement to six total events and competed in five at the nation's only qualifying competition for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics.
"It was the craziest and most intense meet that I've ever been to," said Vose, who will begin her sophomore season at USC in the fall. "It was awesome, a great experience and something you dream about. I wanted to compete against the best and I did."
Vose competed in four events throughout the week: the 100-meter and 200 freestyle races and the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
Her best event based on finish was the 100 free, which took place Thursday morning and afternoon at the CenturyLink Center.
Vose first swam to a mark of 55.32 seconds in the 100 free preliminaries, which fetched her 16th place and the final spot to the same day's semifinals.
At the semifinals, Vose finished 16th again, but topped her time with a mark of 55.18 in a race won by her former high school friend, Saugus High's Abbey Weitzeil (53.37).
"I'm not surprised by what Abbey does," Vose said. "She came into the meet red-hot and it was fun seeing her and talking to her. It was nice to have somebody there you know. Talking to her was calming to my nerves."
Vose, a La Cresenta resident, posted two additional top-30 finishes as she tied for 20th on June 28 in the 200 free with Megan Moroney with a mark of 2:00.48. Vose was also tied for 26th in the 100 breaststroke on June 27 with Meghan Raab in a time of 1:09.39.
Vose lastly finished 45th in the 200 breaststroke on Thursday morning with a mark of 2:32.91.
"My goal was just to go in there and have the best meet I could," Vose said. "I got [personal records] in the 100 free and 100 breaststroke, so I'm pretty happy. I have a couple of more weeks of training and then I get to take a little break."
Vose was one of three Rose Bowl Aquatics swimmers to advance to Omaha, while Julian was another.
The Nitro qualified for both the 100-meter and 200 butterfly, but only swam in the latter that took place on June 28.
"It was really fun and cool to see all those swimmers being there," Julian said. "I couldn't swim in both events because I hurt my shoulder the week before. Even with that, I enjoyed the experience."
Julian finished 71st in the 200 butterfly preliminaries with a time of 2:04.16.
Unfortunately for Julian, the swim caused him to aggravate his shoulder injury and forced him to drop out of the 100 butterfly preliminaries set for Friday.
"I think the biggest thing that I took away is knowing that I can compete at that level and not have nerves," Julian said. "I can go into any competition and be ready."