Chippewa Falls athlete reflects on her time at the Olympic Trials

Chippewa Falls Swimmer Gives Her All At Olympic Trials (6/9/21)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Born and raised in Chippewa Falls to swimming on a national stage. WEAU caught up with Lily Borgenheimer after her trip to the Olympic Trials in Omaha earlier this week.

Surrounded by bright lights, cameras, hundreds of elite swimmers..

“the clearest water I’ve ever seen in my life. It was just like where am I? I’ve never been to anything like it before,” Borgenheimer said.

The Chippewa Falls native says despite 17 years of swimming, nothing could have prepared her for the feeling of being on the block at the trials.

“When I got there I was completely overwhelmed by how massive everything was ... the emotion was there from the beginning, the nerves were the highest they’ve ever been,” Borgenheimer said.

Until, she heard the buzzer.

“When you dive into the water it’s like ok I know what I’m doing now,” said Borgenheimer.

In order to qualify for the 2020 Olympic team, Borgenheimer, first, needed to place in the top two swimmers in her wave in the women’s 200m breaststroke.

“I remember the first 100 feeling really great,” said Borgenheimer.

As she grabbed the side of the pool following the race, she knew she didn’t make the cut.

“I died at the end of this race because I gave it 100% straight out of the dive,” Borgenheimer said.

While her energy was drained, she says she was filled with pride.

“Having my mom screaming as loud as she ever has and having my family there was all that mattered for me,” said Borgenheimer.

Swim Coach at the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, Nick Hora, says through coaching borgenheimer for six years he has seen her journey inspire many others.

“We all know that making the Olympics takes a huge effort and an extremely special person and so to be able to be considered for that means that you have a lot of special qualities,” said Hora.

Qualities that started in small Wisconsin pools for Borgenheimer.

“We don’t have the resources like Madison or other places ... you don’t have to be from such a huge metro area swim team or have the best pools. It’s about loving what you do,” Borgenheimer said.

Her current coach at Colorado Mesa University, Mickey Wender says it was her dedication to the little things that got the 22 year old to where she always dreamed of being.

“The thing that Lily does that sets her apart really is she takes ownership of every aspect of her performance from her nutrition to her life habits away from the pool to what she does in the weight room. She is constantly working to up her game,” Wender said.

Borgenheimer says it was an experience she will never forget and one that 10 year old Lily would never believe.

Borgenheimer finished 2.7 seconds behind first place.

She says she plans to swim for one final season at Colorado Mesa University as she works towards her degree in art and psychology.

Her goal now is to break the national record for the 200 yard breaststroke.

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