Rowland represents Towson at US Olympic Trials
Since she was 13 years old, Towson University swimmer Melanie Rowland had dreamed of qualifying for the Olympic Trials, hoping that one day she could represent the United States in the greatest sporting event in the world.
Last Thursday, June 28, Rowland all but made her dream a reality.
Rowland competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming in Omaha, Nebraska. She finished 65th in the 200-meter butterfly event, moving up 26 spots from where she began the race at 91.
“Moving up in placing was the cherry on top of an incredible experience,” Rowland said. “I was just happy that I didn’t get disqualified.”
Rowland had qualified for the Trials after posting a time of 2:15.76 at the Speedo Sizzler Meet at McDonough Pool earlier in June. Her time came in under the required time of 2:16.49 that was needed to qualify for the trials.
“When I saw my time, I started crying,” she said. “I didn’t really stop until I got off the phone with my dad 30 minutes later.”
Rowland is only the second swimmer to ever represent Towson at the Olympic Trials. Aaron Krause represented the Tigers at the Trials in 2004.
“It’s definitely an honor to be representing Towson at such a competitive meet,” she said.
Before the Speedo Sizzler Meet had taken place, Rowland was already planning her meets and training in preparation to qualify.
“I had rested for several meets throughout the spring and the beginning of summer in an attempt to make the qualifying time,” she said. “Most of June I just went back up in yardage volume. I definitely had a fire under me during training for those few weeks, though. I ran a lot more and attacked dry land workouts with a lot more intensity.”
Once Rowland arrived in Omaha on June 25, she quickly had to get over being around swimmers she has looked up to.
“It took about a day to stop being star struck and realize that I qualified for the meet just like everyone else,” Rowland said. “It was very surreal warming up in the same lane as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Matt Grevers, Amanda Beard and Allison Schmitt. After a day of being in Omaha, I was able to really get down to business and focus on my race.”
Towson Head Coach Pat Mead accompanied Rowland in Omaha and helped her overcome the nerves that come with being in such a high-stakes event.
“In Omaha, he [Mead] had me do a time trial of the 200 Fly the day before my race so that I could get a feel for the main competition pool and iron out any kinks,” she said.
With the help of Mead, and after several weeks of training, Rowland was calm and ready when it was time to race.
The rest is history.
With this experience, Rowland hopes to set an example for swimmers in years to come.
“I hope that qualifying for Trials opens the doors for future Towson swimmers,” she said. “Coach Mead has set up a great program for TU swimmers wishing to stay and train over the summer. Being able to train with Coach Mead during the Long Course season is a huge resource that will certainly result in more Towson swimmers qualifying for national meets in the future. I hope that in 2016 we have a whole group going to Trials.”