By Jessica Ganga
Senior James Shangle was sure that a dream had just come true. After touching the wall, he looked up at the clock. Did the time allow him to qualify? Did he make it to the Olympic time trials or not?
Though there was no announcement, his childhood fantasy became a reality in that moment
With a time of 1:03.64 in the 100-meter breaststroke, the veteran swimmer qualified to swim in Omaha, Neb., for the Olympic time trials starting Sunday, June 26. At first, Shangle wasn’t sure if he had qualified due to the fact that the announcer never said his name.
“I was pulling myself out of the water, pointing at the time, yelling at my disappointed coach, ‘Hey that’s a pretty fast time,’ over and over, secretly thinking and knowing that the announcer had made a mistake and that I had just barely qualified,” Shangle said. “I met my coach five seconds later at the side of the pool, both of us unsure if I did it, until my mother screamed down from the balcony 20 feet away, ‘You did it!’”
For Shangle, this has been an eighth grade dream in the making. With his hard work and determination throughout his four seasons swimming for the College, he has always remained focused and trained his hardest. Training for the trials will not be any different.
“I’m doing everything I can to do my absolute best,” Shangle said. “I’ve been in the water every day since NCAAs and I intend to be in the best shape of my life when I get on the block.”
At the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C., Shangle, who had to qualify with a time of 1:03.69 at most, was just one of three out of 100 swimmers to make it to the trials.
Although Shangle has been a consistently dominant swimmer for the Lions and has had a successful career at the College, he almost left the sport for good. But a change of thought kept the swimmer in the water.
“My sophomore year, I really wanted to quit swimming and I remember being in (head coach Brian Bishop’s) office telling him that I wanted to quit and that the only thing stopping me was him and the team,” Shangle said. “This group of people supported me in so many ways other than in the pool and I really would have quit that year if I was not with this team or with this coach.”
That decision to stay led Shangle to four school records and 14 All-American honors with the Lions.
Although Shangle has worked hard to make his dream a reality, he has a group of people that he is thankful to have as his support system. When he emerged from the water and saw the time, he couldn’t help but think of everyone who has been with him every step of the way.
“At that moment, and still now, I felt like it is a gift from my family, coach and team to get that time — a gift from everyone to get to go,” Shangle said. “I feel that it is a gift from my talented coach, who paid attention to me to reach my fullest potential; a gift from my parents, who came to all of my races and supported me in every way possible; and a gift from my very talented teammates, who motivate me to be the best I can be. There are some things I think I earned in this sport, but this was something I could not have done without my coach, parents and team.”