Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
Fleagle confident entering Rio trials
St. Marys native will compete for Olympic swimming berth later this month
By Colin Foster
In 2012, Josh Fleagle was an 18-year-old competing at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials.
Four years after having missed the cut, Fleagle returns to the stage a better swimmer with his eyes on the prize.
The St. Marys native will go for Olympic berths in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle when the meet begins on June 26 in Omaha, Neb.
"I wasn't 100 percent sure what the first trials were going to be like," Fleagle said. "I was one of the younger guys there, I mean, I was only 18 the first time around. I probably didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. This being the second time around, I'm going to try to enjoy the experience and just have fun going fast."
Fleagle, an All-American swimmer at Ohio State, decided to redshirt his senior year to chase his dream of qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And Fleagle has worked extra hard to make that dream come true.
He spent five months practicing and working out in Phoenix last year before moving back to Columbus 3-4 months ago. Fleagle spends in the upwards of six hours per day training - usually four hours of water-time and two hours weight training - five days a week. He works out in the pool for a couple hours on Saturdays, too.
The work is paying off.
Fleagle's qualifying times rank near the middle of the pack in both events - he was 55th in the 100 (50.16 seconds) and 79th in the 200 (1:51.09). The top two make the Olympics. However, he recently competed in meets at Purdue and in Columbus and dropped his 100 time into the national top 30. If Fleagle can drop it slightly lower, he said it would put him in a really good position.
Some of the biggest names in swimming will be competing in Fleagle's events. Three-time gold medalist Nathan Adrian (48 seconds) and 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps (48.45) hold the top-times nationally in the 100. Five-time gold medalist Ryan Lochte (1:45.36) and one-time golden boy Conor Dwyer (1:45.41) have the best qualifying times in the 200.
Fleagle himself has plenty of accolades on his own resume. In his junior college season, the former Auglaize-Mercer YMCA Waves member collected four All-American awards. He placed eighth in the nation in the 200 free and helped the Buckeyes' 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relay teams win honorable mention honors.
Now more confident in his abilities than ever, Fleagle is ready to test himself once more against the best in the country.
"I'm confident going into it," Fleagle said. "Just like anyone, I can't see the future. Coming into the Olympic Trials, I'm going to obviously give it my 100-percent effort. I know I'm going to drop time, but it depends on how much time I drop."