How Maddie Meisel and Nora Deleske Are Revving Up for Trials

Photo Courtesy: Nora Deleske

By Erin Himes, Swimming World College Intern

With Olympic Trials less than two weeks away, athletes all over the country are preparing for one of the most exciting meets of their lives. From working to qualify for the meet to fine tuning the little things weeks before, every day counts leading up to an Olympic year.

I spoke with Golden West Swim Club’s Maddie Meisel, a University of Southern California transfer this fall, and Nora Deleske, a junior at Edison High School, about what the process has been like so far and what they’ll be working on as the meet rapidly approaches.

Swimming World: What events will you be swimming at Olympic Trials?


Meisel moments after qualifying for trials.
Photo Courtesy: Maddie Meisel

Maddie: I will be swimming the 400 freestyle at trials.

Nora: I have qualified for Olympic Trials in the 200 breaststroke, 400 individual medley and 200 individual medley.

SW: Have you been to trials before?


Photo Courtesy: Nora Deleske

Maddie: This is my first time going! I am so excited to be able to experience this meet. I have always dreamed of qualifying for Olympic Trials, so I am extremely pumped for this meet. I have heard the show at trials is awesome, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.

Nora: I was lucky enough to go to trials in 2012 to watch a couple of my training partners compete, one of them being Janet Evans, who has always been a huge inspiration for me. Trials was the most exciting, intense meet I had ever been to and I knew right when I walked into the arena for the first time I had to compete at that meet in 2016.

SW: When did you qualify? What was that experience like?


Photo Courtesy: Maddie Meisel

Maddie: I qualified in July of 2015 at the Los Angeles Invite swim meet. I had just gotten back from a vacation in Europe the month before, and wasn’t sure if I was in shape enough to qualify at that meet. I had been training hard under Coach (Mark) Schubert, and just had to trust my training when it came down to racing.

Looking up at the scoreboard to see that I had made my cut is a feeling I will never forget. I had goosebumps from head to toe, and could not stop smiling. I think my favorite feeling in the world is the moment you know all your hard work and sacrifices have paid off. It was such a fun meet because I was surrounded by my teammates, and was able to compete at a pool close to home.

Nora: I got my first Olympic Trials cut in the 200 breaststroke at the Federal Way pool in Washington on February 14. I was competing for Socal swimming in an all star meet against the Japan all star team. This was extremely bittersweet for me because I didn’t have my family or coach there with me.

I had never had such a high adrenaline rush in my entire life– getting that cut for me was like being a kid in a candy shop and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I immediately called my coach and was screaming in the phone to him; this had been a dream of ours for a very long time and getting the cut was just an incredible moment. After calling my coach, I called my parents and little brother who actually had his birthday that day. Hearing their voice and having their support meant the world to me and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

SW: What are you focusing on in training the next few weeks?


Photo Courtesy: Nora Deleske

Maddie: In the next few weeks I will really be focusing on the little things like stroke technique- making sure I make any last minute adjustments. The next month will also be an important time mentally to work on focusing and staying calm while racing. I think the hardest part about large-scale meets is dealing with the adjustment in atmosphere. It is easy to get distracted when there are underwater cameras, a camera crew at finals, and a big hype around the meet. Going into trials I plan on focusing on keeping calm and working on the details.

Nora: Training will become a lot more sprint-based then my usually distance practices. Coach Mark and i have planned for a lot more race pace sets.

SW: What are your goals for trials?


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Maddie: My goal for trials is so soak up the experience! Trials only happen once every four years, and I am extremely excited to be competing in this years trials. Of course, I am aiming for a best time with a well swum race. But overall, I hope to gain as much as I can from this experience to hopefully help me grow as a person– both inside and outside of the pool.

Nora: My number one goal for trials is to remember not to get caught up in the glitz and glam and to remember that it is another swim meet and having fun is the most important part; and of course swim super fast!