The best presents are earned.
On April 9, the day she turned 17 years old, Chase Davison was good to herself – she qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 100-meter breaststroke. She swam 1 minute, 10.90 seconds, .09 under the cut-off time.
The junior at Mullen said she “has no clue about the weird cut-offs,” but she handled it and was at peace.
“I’m really excited about it,” Davison said. “It has been a goal of mine.”
“Oh, my gosh!” she said. “It’s such a relief!”
Davison is well-versed in the quirks of a sport that isn’t as seemingly cut and dried in terms of time and races.
As a 13-year-old, she qualified for the 200-meter breaststroke, but turned in the time not long after that year’s Trials. Under the sport’s rules, she did it too early and wasn’t permitted to actually swim in the ensuing Trials. Davison said she was young and blossomed early.
Plus, while swimming for the area’s Hilltoppers, her year-round club team, earlier this month in Sarasota Fla., in the Gain Invitational, she admitted she was trying to qualify in the 200 and not the 100.
“So it’s a happy coincidence,” said Davison, who has committed to the Texas Longhorns.
She said she “was just better at the 200,” when she was younger, but actually getting to compete in the Trials, which will be held in June in Omaha, Neb., “is a dream come true. … I peaked so young, so this was a nice breakthrough. I knew I could always do it, I had just been waiting to do it.”
At the moment, she said, there are about 90 competitors who have earned spots. It will remain open for about another month and just two will actually advance to the Games that will be held in Japan. The world-record holder turned in 1:04.10 and Davison said she suspects “1:05-something will be right behind.”
So this round will be about learning on the step before the sport’s highest level.
“But in three years I’ll be ready for the next Olympics after swimming some years in college,” Davison said. ”At this point, it’s about experience rather than heavy goals.”
However, she added, “upsets happen more times than you think ... they do happen at Trials.”
There is still time for Davison to qualify in other events. So far, she will be joined by two other Hilltoppers teammates who swim as schoolgirls -- Anna Shaw, Heritage, 50 freestyle, and Emma Weber, Regis Jesuit, 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
In February, Davison helped Mullen to a second-place finish in the 4A championships. She was on the winning 200-yard freestyle relay that also was an All-American effort as well as Colorado 4A mark; won the 100 backstroke; and was runner-up in the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay.
Davison also said she will swim with the Mustangs as a senior.
She’s still floating on the top of the water after her Florida effort and probably won’t come down until the second week of June.
“I’m still kind of in shock about it,” she said. “I’m really excited and always wanted to do this.”