KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kearney student-athlete is headed to the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
On June 5, Madison Strathman, 24, will compete against the nation’s best in the 100-meter breaststroke, for the chance to advance to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
From an early age, swimming was the sport Strathman shockingly let drift away.
"The first time I had swim lessons, I was actually pretty young, and I hated every second of it," Strathman said.
As she got older, Strathman jumped back into the pool, making a big splash during her high school career. She became the first Missouri state swim champion from Kearney High School. She then went on to swim on scholarship at the University of Arkansas.
"I didn't get fully into swimming until I was about 11," she said. "I kind of started out doing everything else. I did karate, soccer, flag football, basketball, track. I did pretty much everything, and then started swimming with the local summer league, hometown team and then once that kind of took off, I joined the club team and kind of took that forward and just stayed with the club and then worked all the way up to high school, state, all that good stuff and then went on to college."
Currently, Strathman is a student-athlete at Cleveland University Kansas-City studying to be a doctor of chiropractic.
When she's not studying, Strathman is at the pool practicing and coaching.
Around 11 a.m. Saturday, Strathman will compete in hopes of advancing to the finals. The first and second place winners in the finals will then advance to Wave 2 the following weekend.
"I feel excited, I feel nervous, being able to know that this is the last race is a little bit different," Strathman said. "Last time I swam, I didn't know it was my last race, and I think having the feeling of knowing that this is going to be the last one – this is it – it's a little bit different, and I'm hoping it will be a little more exciting and help me be a little bit more motivated."
In 2015, Strathman qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials, where she competed in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter breaststroke.
In 2018, a serious shoulder injury required surgery, which kept Strathman out of the water.
Following a negative COVID-19 test on Thursday, Strathman left for Omaha, where she'll be tested again.
Coming off an injury with a chance to move on to the finals, Strathman has one goal she'd like to accomplish.
"For me to go a personal best time that would be a great way to end things," Strathman said.
Strathman told 41 Action News that the trials in Omaha will come down to tenths and hundreths of seconds, as each swimmer competing is within one and a half seconds of each other.