Panama City Beach, FL---It's accurate to say it is a rather big week ahead for a pair of local swimmers.
Both hail from Mosley. Recent graduate Michael Duderstadt, and senior to be Jonathan Ratliff, both coming off big performances at the Southeastern Championships, have both qualified for next week's U.S. Open Swim Meet in Irvine California.
The qualifying times to get into the latter meet are the same standard to get into the Olympic Trials, so this is a very big deal indeed.
"I'm a little bit nervous," says Duderstadt "it's a little nerve wracking! Well leave Sunday, fly out there. Probably get butterflies in my stomach. It will really start to hit me that well be racing I guess Wednesday, next Wednesday."
Ratliff also admitting to feeling some nerves as he gets set to head west and experience some new things, including jet travel!
"I'm so excited, its gonna be nuts. I've never flown before, I've never been to California. So its gonna be mind blowing. I'm already nervous."
Their Panama City Swim Team coach Jonathan Kaplan says perhaps there should be some nerves, because competing at this level means they'll be going against the best.
"Last year we were very excited when we had one swimmer reach the Olympic Trials." says Kaplan. "And this year, obviously there's no Olympics, but to get a swimmer at the U.S. Open, and get a second swimmer, which means we basically have two at the Olympic Trial level which is spectacular for this area!"
For coach Kaplan by the way, this will be his last event guiding local swimmers.
He's taken a job with a prestigious swim club in Virginia. Assistant coach Brian Haddad will take over the P-C-S-T, so congrats to both those coaches.