Years of training have all come down to one race for Andrea Kropp at the 2012 U.S. Swimming Team Trials.
While the 2010 Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy graduate has performed well in each of her other two events leading up to Friday, it was always about the 200-meter breaststroke in the mind of the Olympic hopeful.
Those hopes are still very much alive after Kropp placed in the top three in both Friday morning's preliminary heat and the evening semifinal swim that advanced her to tonight's finals at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
"This is what I've really been training for," said Kropp, who also advanced as far as the semifinals in the 200-individual medley on Wednesday. "I've been happy with my best times in my other events, but this is what I really came to Omaha for, to qualify for a team in the 200 breast. I think that getting in the top three in both prelims and semis really set myself up in a good solid position to do well [today]."
While thrilled with her finishes — third in the prelims in 2 minutes 25.77 seconds and third in the semis in 2:24.93 — Kropp knows she must do even better today. The top two swimmers from each event plus four more in both the 100 and 200 freestyles qualify for the 2012 Olympics, set for July 27-Aug. 12.
"I think that I can go out faster in the first 100," said Kropp, who finished behind Rebecca Soni (2:21.45) and Micah Lawrence (2:24.12) in the semis. "Both [Friday] morning and night I was really, really controlled in my first 100 and I think I can take it out faster and bring it home on the last 100 [faster] than I have been doing."
Crescenta Valley High senior-to-be Young Tae Seo also competed on Friday, turning in the 81st-best mark in the 200-individual medley (2:06.84).
Yumi So, a 2009 Crescenta Valley graduate, placed 106th in the 200 butterfly on Thursday in 2:19.44.