Edwardsville’s Bailey Grinter had a dream of qualifying for the Olympic Swimming Trials and on Friday night at Columbia, Mo., she accomplished it.
The 16-year-old daughter of Greg and April Grinter recorded a time of 1:03.36, for the 100-meter backstroke, under the Olympic Trials qualifying mark of 1:03.39. She was placed second in the event at the University of Missouri swimming pool.
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“I just felt good from the start,” the Edwardsville teen said. “Coach Bob (Rettle) told me to get out fast and hit it. I was really excited about getting the time. I want to go to Trials with my teammate, Kate May. Kate is getting close with her time in the 100-meter butterfly. She has one more chance this year to get it at the long-course national meet.”
Coach Rettle said he believes Bailey Grinter is the first Edwardsville swimmer to qualify for the Olympic Trials since Bill Stapleton, who made the 1988 Olympic that went to South Korea.
Rettle said with Bailey only being 16, he doesn’t see any reason why she can’t accomplish what Stapleton did in the future.
“She has the talent and the work ethic to go far,” he said. “She is 5-foot-11, with long arms and built perfectly for the backstroke.”
The Olympic Trials for swimming will be in July 2016 in Omaha, Neb.
Rettle said Bailey has an entire year to train and work toward the Olympic Trials.
“She could also qualify in both the 50 or 100 freestyle events,” he said.
April Grinter said she and her husband, Greg, could not be more proud of their daughter, Bailey.
“She swam all these years, working toward this,” April said.
Bailey finished just behind a 20-year-old University of Missouri backstroke star in the meet.
Rettle said Bailey’s qualifying for the Olympic Trials was “huge” for Edwardsville’s swim program.
“We walked around the pool and everybody knows she is from Edwardsville and congratulated her,” he said.
Dr. Ed Hightower, retired Edwardsville School District 7 superintendent, sent a note of congratulations to Bailey and Rettle. Hightower was an inspiration behind all of the Edwardsville school facility upgrades and transformation. The additions included the construction of the new Chuck Fruit Aquatics Center, which has put Edwardsville on the map in regard to swimming facilities in the Midwest.
“Dr. Hightower’s note meant a lot, after what he has done for the school district all these years,” Rettle said.
“I expect Bailey will work hard and she should be very competitive at the Olympic Trials,” Rettle said.
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