Strong showing for Holmquist at Olympic trials

Former Wilton High standout Stephen Holmquist had a strong showing at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which concluded last month at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

The 2015 WHS graduate was one of five members of the Wilton Y Wahoo Swim Team to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials, the largest swimming event in the country, to determine the team that is representing America at the Summer Games, which open Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Holmquist competed in two events at the U.S. trials, which took place June 23 to July 3.

In the 400-meter individual medley, he was seeded 72nd but moved up to finish in 37th place with a time of 4:26.97.

Holmquist, a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan, also finished 88th in the 1500-meter freestyle in 16:07.42.

"It was such a great experience going to trials — definitely very overwhelming to be at the same meet as some of the world's best, but I really enjoyed getting to not only watch but compete at the highest level," said Holmquist, a 2015 Wilton High graduate. "I thought my races went very well. I was sick a couple months before competing so I wasn't able to get in good enough shape for the mile, but I was very pleased with how my 400 IM went."

The best finish by a Wahoo swimmer was turned in by Ian Rainey of Westport, who placed 24th in the 400 IM in a time of 4:23.51.

Rainey, a rising junior at the University of Michigan, also was 73rd in the 1500 freestyle (15:57.68) and 75th in the 200 butterfly (2:04.55).

Ky-lee Perry of Norwalk, a 2016 graduate from Brien McMahon High School, qualified for the trial in two events. The rising freshman at North Carolina State was 59th in the 100 freestyle (56.8) and 82nd in the 50 freestyle (26.23).

The fourth Wahoo swimmer at the meet was Verity Abel of Westport, who was 73rd in the 800 freestyle (9:01.97) and 89th in the 400 freestyle (4:22.95). She is a rising sophomore at Duke University.

Eric Ronda of Greenwich, and a rising senior at Harvard, was the fifth Wahoo swimmer to qualify for the Olympic trials but did not compete.

The top two finishers in each event at the trials automatically made the U.S. Olympic team for the Summer Games in Brazil, and four others were chosen for freestyle relays.

"Overall, the Wahoo team swam pretty well. I think I speak for most when I say we weren't all that concerned with what our times were and more about gaining the experience to compete with the best," said Holmquist, who is now focusing on his sophomore season at Michigan.

 "My freshman year at Michigan was awesome. It was very hard to juggle both school and swimming but overall very rewarding," he said. "I loved getting to know the whole team, and competing at Big Tens was a great experience. I'm very excited to get back to Ann Arbor to go after another Big Ten title with my brothers."


Hopefully, he will be back at the Olympic Trials four years from now.

"I'm definitely excited to get back in the pool and keep working hard because I know I can keep improving," he said. "Four years is a long time away so I'm going to play it by ear and just focus on this upcoming collegiate season first and keep going from there."

NotesAnother Wahoo, Noah Mascoll-Gomes (a high school junior from Astoria, N.Y.) had already qualified to represent Antigua at the Olympic Games, which run from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21.

Wahoo swimmer David Gelfand (a rising junior at Weston High School) took part in U.S. Paralympics trials, held from June 30 through July 2 in Charlotte, N.C.

Although he did not make the U.S. team, Gelfand — a S9-classified swimmer — had an outstanding meet. He took first place in three events, winning the 400 freestyle (4:4476), 100 butterfly (1:13.73) and 100 freestyle (1:04.55). He also took second in the 200 IM (2:34.43) and third in both the 50 freestyle (30.15) and 100 backstroke (1:16.34).

Gelfand turned in best times in the 50 free, 200 IM and 100 free.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games take place in Brazil Sept. 7-18.