Sophomore Felicity Buchmaier to Compete in the Australian Olympic Trials


Come April, sophomore Felicity Buchmaier is headed to Adelaide, Australia, for the opportunity of a lifetime. She will be journeying back to her home country during spring break to compete in the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships. If she makes semi-finals, then finals, and places in first, she will be guaranteed a spot on the Australian Olympic Team for the 2016 Olympics.

According to Buchmaier, her last chance to strive for a qualifying time was in July at her championship meet. But at the time, she still had no idea what her numbers needed to be in order to make the cut.

“I just did my best,” Buchmaier said. “Every day I would check to see if the times were up. Then in the middle of September, I was in second hour, and one day they were up.”

Making it by .08 seconds, Buchmaier qualified with a time of 1:05.92 for the hundred meter backstroke. She then contacted a large competitive swimming organization known as Swimming Australia to discuss the exact steps she would need to take to reach her final goal.

“I got in touch with someone from Swimming Australia, and he [told me] I had to be a part of a Swimming Australia club, register with them, and go through [a whole process],” Buchmaier said. “It’s very difficult.”

For Buchmaier, her journey home is less about winning.

“I just want to go there for the experience,” Buchmaier said. “I’m not going to score well or anything, I just want to go there and think it’d be fun to do.”

According to junior and fellow teammate Riley Hofmann, Buchmaier’s opportunity is result of more than just good swimming. She says that because Buchmaier works so hard every day and has gotten much faster, this opportunity is proof that it has paid off.

Hofmann also says that Buchamier’s personality adds something new to not just the FHC Girls Swim and Dive team, but to any team that she swims with.

“I think that [with] any group of people, she can just fit in and get to work and she’s really easy to be around and swim with,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann also said that she wishes her teammate good luck, and has a few words she wishes for her to remember while on her journey.

“I think she needs to remember that no matter if she does well or not, it’s still amazing that she’s there and that she even qualified,” Hofmann said. “She should be proud of herself.”

Coach Tim Jasperse agreed with Hofmann, stating that Buchmaier has something different about her that helps make up the qualities that allow her to be a fantastic swimmer.

“Felicity has the rare blend of speed, endurance, and great attitude,” Jasperse said. “As a swimmer and athlete Felicity does several things well: she loves to compete, she has a very good underwater kick, and she has a great personality that allows her to swim fast.”

According to both Jasperse and Hofmann, Buchmaier’s abilities are not the only benefits she brings to the team. When it comes to races, her mindset is always “calm, cool, and collected.” Hofmann says that her teammate’s ability to be so confident rubs off on her, relaxing her nerves as she prepares for a race. Jasperse added that her speed as a swimmer encourages her teammates to work harder and faster. He also said that her endurance has forced him to make practices more challenging for the team overall.

Like any person striving for their dreams, Buchmaier has those who inspire her to keep moving forward.

“My parents really push me,” Buchmaier said. “There’s also a swimmer in Australia named Libby Trickett, and when I was little she swam the hundred butterfly or something. I remember going to her swim meet and having her sign my cap.”

She also says she’s taking certain measures to be sure that she’s ready for the competition when it takes place in April.

“I’m trying to train harder,” Buchmaier said. “My dad’s trying to make me eat healthier and make sure I get good sleep.”

After April, if she does do exceptionally well at the trials, Buchmaier already knows what will happen in order for her to prepare for the 2016 Olympics.

“If I did [make it], I’d probably train with Swimming Australia for the Olympics,” Buchmaier said.

As for after her adventure back home, Buchmaier already has goals set aside to work towards next. She says that along with swimming in college, after obtaining U.S. Citizenship, she’d like to try and compete in the American Olympic Trials. Swimming is especially important to her, for more reasons than one.

“With swimming I can always get faster and there’s so many areas to improve on,” Buchmaier said. “I think swimming’s a great sport, and it is an individual sport, but there’s so many things that come with the team too that I love about it.”

Hofmann agreed, adding that she hopes Buchmaier accomplishes a lot in the near future.

“I would love to see her be a state champion for swimming,” Hofmann said. “Also I [think] she definitely has a chance to make the Australian Olympic Team.”