Several local young men and women are now competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team at the trials in Omaha, Neb.
Nineteen-year-old CJ Smith, a Wilmette native and sophmore at the University of Minnesota, is one of those hopefuls.
"It's healthy nerves here, people are just very excited," Smith said.
Smith will be competing in the 1500-meter freestyle event this weekend. He has already competed in the 400-meter freestyle, but did not place high enough to earn an Olympic spot for that event.
"I unfortunately got too quick of a start," Smith said.
Smith has a healthy perspective about the competition, and is thrilled for others, including one young man from the North Shore who has earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team.
Conor Dwyer, a Loyola Academy alumni, placed second in the 400-meter freestyle on Monday, which was the first day of the trials. He also placed fourth in the 200-meter freestyle on Wednesday.
"When Conor won, it was very exciting. We all know of him. It's one of those things people work towards their whole lives," Smith said.
Smith began taking swimming lessons at age three, and joined organized teams at the age of six. He has been involved in swimming programs at the Evanston YWCA for the last 13 years
"The Olympic trials have us in an environment everyone is excited to be in," Smith, said.
The trials, being held at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, will run until July 2.