Two local swimmers get closer to Olympic dream

(left to right) Mark Tadder (Samantha's father), Samantha Tadder, Cason Wilburn, Cassondre and Keenan Wilburn (Cason's parents). (Southside Daily/courtesy of TIDE Swimming)
(left to right) Mark Tadder (Samantha’s father), Samantha Tadder, Cason Wilburn, Cassondre and Keenan Wilburn (Cason’s parents). (Southside Daily/courtesy of TIDE Swimming)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Two local swimmers have qualified for the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team trials for the first time since 1988.

TIDE Swimming athlete and Virginia Beach native Samantha Tadder, 16 and East Coast Aquatic Team athlete Cason Wilburn, 18, qualified at Olympic qualifying swims in Saint Petersburg, Florida in March, officials said in a news release.

The two will head to the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team trials in Omaha, Nebraska, at the CHI Health Center Omaha on June 21-28, 2020.

The eight-day competition will serve as the sole qualifier for swimmers on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team, said Carrie Duffy, TIDE Swimming spokeswoman.

In Florida, Tadder swam her way to her long time goal and first Olympic Team trials qualifying time in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:50.33 at the TYR ISCA International Junior Championship Cup, officials said.

“With 28 of Samantha’s TIDE teammates cheering her on,” TIDE Swimming’s Associate Head Coach Richard Hunter said. “Watching Samantha touch the wall, see the time and immediately be overcome with emotions is a moment her coaches and teammates will remember forever.”

Not only did Tadder earn a qualifying time, she surpassed it by more than a second, earned a new team record and beat her age group by more than 12 seconds.

The qualifying time was 4:51.79.

Wilburn, qualified at the same meet for the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team trials in the 100-meter butterfly in a time of 54.16.

The qualifying time was a 54.19.

“To have two qualifiers 15 months before trials and the prospect for a few more, is tremendous,” said Katy Arris-Wilson, TIDE Swimming board president and two-time past Olympic Trials qualifier. “Virginia Beach and South Hampton Roads is putting itself on the map for producing elite swimmers.”

This isn’t the first time TIDE Swimming has sent qualifiers to Olympic trials, officials said.

Back in 2016, 16-year old Callie Dickinson was the only swimming Olympic trials qualifier in South Hampton Roads.

TIDE Swimming’s Rebecca Jones qualified both in 2008 and 2012.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be in Tokyo on July 24 – Aug. 9.

Always be informed. Get the latest news and information delivered to your inbox

Print Friendly, PDF & Email