West U Kid Gets Olympic Trials Gold Medal
When West U Piranhas swimmer Katie Wasserman traveled to the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. she had no idea she would come home with a medal around her neck.
Wasserman, who is 8, finished out her season on the Piranhas swim team undefeated. Her dad, Dr. Matt Wasserman, wanted to take her to the Olympic Trials so she could see how Olympic athletes swim.
Wasserman and her dad traveled to Omaha the last weekend in June and while she was there she met U.S. Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte.
“I was trying to get Ryan Lochte’s autograph, but instead he gave me his medal,” Wasserman said.
Wasserman and her dad were sitting really close to the pool when Lochte came in first in the 200 meter backstroke on June 30.
Lochte took off his gold medal and put it around Wasserman’s neck and said she could keep it.
Wasserman said she felt “very, very, very thankful and very weird.”
“I was trying to get his autograph, but instead he gave me this thing,” Wasserman said, holding up the gold medal in her hand.
The medal reads, “Olympic Trials Swimming 2012, First Place Men’s 200 Back.”
Although they met only briefly when Lochte gave her the medal, they later reconnected through a family acquaintance that passed along a copy of the photo of Wasserman receiving the medal.
In addition to the medal, Wasserman got autographs from Olympic swimmers Rebecca Soni and Micah Lawrence. She also got to meet her favorite swimmer, Missy Franklin, as well as Jessica Hardy, Allison Schmitt and Lia Neal.
Wasserman has been swimming with the West U Piranhas since she was four years old.
“She’s always loved the water,” Wasserman’s mother, Dr. Krista Olson said. “She could swim before she could walk.”
Olson said her family used to live in California and her daughter would crawl into the ocean.
Wasserman took first place in all of her Piranhas swim meets this year. She swam the butterfly in the medley relay, the 25 meter freestyle, the 25 meter backstroke and the 25 meter butterfly.
She received a High Point Trophy and was also awarded the Barbara Lancton Outstanding Swimmer Award for 2012. The plaque is awarded to one swimmer each year and reads, “You’ve done your best.”
Wasserman was coached by Head Coach S.R. “Mac” McDonald and assistant coach Cat Norman.
The Piranhas Swim Team was also undefeated this year. The Piranhas defeated the Bellaire Barracudas, the Willow Wahoos, and the Southwest United Stingrays.