Athlete Feature

Taylor set to qualify for U.S. Olympic Trials at National Championships

Jake Taylor will look to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials while competing at the Senior National Championships

PROVO, Utah–BYU senior Jake Taylor will compete at the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships from Aug. 6-10 in hopes of qualifying for three additional events after already qualifying in one event for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Taylor met the qualifying time to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 100-meter backstroke earlier this year and now looks to qualify for the 200-meter backstroke, 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter medley at the National Championships. BYU head coach John Brooks will also be joining Taylor at the National Championships. To qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, a swimmer must meet the qualifying time in his or her event during the qualifying period.

“Jake is right on target with where we want him to be as a swimmer,” Brooks said. “We are proud of what he is accomplishing and that he is meeting all of his goals.”

With his qualification for the 100-meter backstroke at the 2015 Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara, California, in June, Taylor has already guaranteed himself a trip to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. He will compete there over a period of days to secure a spot in the final race of each event for which he qualifies. The final for each event consists of the eight fastest swimmers in the country for that particular event. If he can finish in either first or second place of that final race, Taylor will have a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

“It’s every swimmer's dream to make it to the Olympic Trials and to the Olympics,” Taylor said. “My motivation is to make it to the trials, but overall, I want to be able to qualify for that final heat. It will be the eight fastest swimmers in the country, and I want to swim with the best in the world.”

To prepare for the national championship events, Taylor has been competing in various other events and preparing himself mentally and physically to be able to compete and meet the qualifying times in each of those events.

“I've been competing in meets in California and Utah to perfect my racing strategies," Taylor said. "I want to make sure that my turns are perfect, that I'm being consistent with my training, that I'm eating right and that I'm making sure I'm healthy and focused on the event.”

Representing BYU on the national and world stage, while competing with some of the fastest swimmers in the world, is something that Taylor enjoys.

“It’s a great missionary opportunity,” Taylor said. “Many people have been impressed with my manners and how I have presented myself at different events. I have gained respect from competitors and world-class athletes, who have appreciated the standards that I am living. People definitely notice, and I am able to represent the school so much better because of the standards that we keep at BYU.”

Taylor will compete in the 100-meter backstroke on Aug. 7, the 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter medley on Aug. 8 and the 200-meter backstroke on Aug. 10. For more information on the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, visit the USA Swimming website