Former MCHS swimmer sets sights on Olympics

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It used to take bribes to get Blake Worsley into the swimming pool. Now, his sights are set on representing the U.S. as part of the Olympic team.

"My mom (Patti Worsley) told me I had to get in the pool, and I threw a big fit," he said. "She said she would take me to McDonalds afterward, and I've been happy ever since."

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And been pretty good since that time, too.

Worsley, a University of Denver sophomore, swam as a Moffat County High School Bulldog before graduating from Steamboat Springs High School in 2005.

A swimmer since age 9, Worsley has been training year-round since his high school senior year.

Patti, MCHS boys swim coach, said Blake went to DU as one of the slowest swimmers on the team.

She pointed to the Blake's narrow miss -- .05 seconds -- in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals earlier this year as to how far he has come.

"I honestly think it is my own desire to be the best I can be," Blake said. "I have had a really great coach here, support from my family, and I think it's just the perfect atmosphere for me."

Blake's swimming success has resulted in more scholarship assistance at DU, which prides itself in high academic standards for athletes.

"He went into school with a minimal scholarship and should be close to a full-ride next year," Patti said. "DU has one of the highest grade point averages in all of Division I swimming programs. They work very, very hard. Academics are the forefront there, and sadly it is usually the swimming program that gets cut first when they have budget cuts -- and yet the same athletes have the highest GPAs."

Blake described his entrance to DU last year as "pretty much a walk-on" and said the coaches gave him a little bit of an assistance as incentive.

A marketing major at DU, Worsley would like to go into advertising and get as high up the corporate ladder as possible after graduation.

The same is the case for his swimming career.

For athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, they must first go through a progression of levels.

The six unofficial levels include: junior Olympics, zone qualifications, sectionals, U.S. Open, spring championships and summer championships.

Qualifying for the Olympic trials is based on time.

In spring nationals in New York about one month ago, Blake competed in the 100 free, and he is aiming for nationals this summer in Indianapolis.

He'll swim the 50, 100, 200 and 400 freestyles. His personal best time in the 100 is 52.19 seconds and the qualifying mark is 51.59.

Considering McDonalds is one official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team, maybe Patti knew what she was getting into with her bribe years ago.

"It is always a dream to just go to the Olympics," Blake said. "Here I am getting close."

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