Pair of Fort Wayne natives swimming toward Tokyo Olympics

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Jacob Steele and Tristan DeWitt are two weeks into their summer trip in Omaha, but this is the farthest thing from a vacation.

In recent weeks, the IU swimmers from Fort Wayne have taken in their first qualifying experience in Omaha. Both advanced in a pair of events to Wave II, the second set of heats before qualifying for Tokyo.

Competing against the best swimmers in the country is one of many challenges Steele and DeWitt have had to navigate in their first qualifying meet. The larger challenge is on the mental side. With non-stop practices and heats, Steele and DeWitt describe the last two weeks as physically and mentally exhausting.

“You just kind of look to the future and say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to let myself down the next time I go out there and race’,” Steele said, a graduate from Snider High School.

Fortunately, they have been able to lean on each other and fellow teammates from IU as they have advanced through qualifying.

“Having people like Steele, my family and great coaches, great teammates, even competitors to talk to, everyone on the pool deck is friendly. Nobody is going at each other,” DeWitt said, a Carroll graduate.

Both Steele and DeWitt mentioned they are focused on the task at hand and not looking too far ahead. If they were to advance to Tokyo, they would feel privileged to represent the U.S. and their hometown communities if they were able to advance.

“It’s something that you can’t put into words,” DeWitt said. “It’s a lot of emotions, it’s lifetimes of work put into one thing.”

DeWitt competes Thursday in Wave II of the 200-meter individual medley. Steele also competes Thursday in the 200-meter backstroke.

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