A great high school swimmer with a state championship resumé, Andrea Hupman hadn't quite reached her potential in the pool.
But she's spent the last four years working toward that goal, dedication that has brought a steady drop in times and a trip to her first U.S. Olympic Team Trials next week. Four years ago, she had high school state titles and a scholarship to Northwestern, but she narrowly missed a trip to trials.
Now she is entered in three events and seeded fairly high in each for the Olympic qualifying event, held this year in Omaha, Neb.
"It's nice to see how far I've come in four years," said Hupman, who just finished her career at Northwestern with nine All-American honors.
"Four years ago I just missed the cut (for trials) and here I am several seconds under the cut now."
The times got lower even as Hupman was an Academic All-Big Ten selection working on a degree in biomedical engineering. She has two more classes to finish up on her degree, but has taken the summer off to work on swimming.
The strategy has delivered some of her best times of late, giving her high hopes for her Olympic trials debut at the age of 22.
"(Trials) are always unpredictable so I'm going to focus on doing my best races," said Hupman, who qualified for the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle races at trials. "I'm going to go up to the block comfortable. I know what I can do and I'm anxious to see what I can do rested.
"I know it will have to be a lifetime swim. It's just a matter of how fast I can go."
Hupman's best hopes are in the 100 free, her best event. She's seeded 14th with a time of 55.27 seconds, but only a narrow clocking separates that time from the upper echelon.
She's also seeded 25th in the 50 free (25.78) and 37th in the 200 free (2:01.19).
"I think Andrea has a great shot at being in the semifinals," said Chris Davis, who coached Hupman at SwimAtlanta. "And if she can get a hold of one, she can get in that final heat. If you get in that final heat, anything can happen. I've seen girls that were supposed to be a shoo-in just decide that they've got to go out harder than normal or do a little different race strategy for trials, then they don't make the team.
"Andrea's done really remarkably the last three or four years. Her times just keep coming down."
Davis said Hupman likely will need a time in the 100 free in the high 54-second range to make the final heat with a loaded field that also will feature her old Brookwood teammate Amanda Weir, a two-time silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics.
The finals also likely will feature some of the nation's best like American record-holder Natalie Coughlin, Dara Torres, Katie Hoff and Kara Lynn Joyce.
"I'm aiming for low 54 (-second range)," Hupman said. "I think it's going to be an amazingly fast race. The 100 free is just going to blow people away with how fast it is."
Visit the official web site for Olympic Trials
What: USA Swimming Olympic Team Trials
When: Sunday-July 6
Where: Omaha, Neb.
Web site: www.usaswimming.org
· Andrea Hupman, Brookwood, 50, 100, 200 freestyle
· Jana Mangimelli, Brookwood, 200 backstroke
· John Millen, Parkview, 200, 400 free
· Caitlin Reynolds,
Wesleyan, 200, 400 free
· Eric Shanteau, Parkview, 200, 400 IM, 200, 400 breast
· Haley Staubach, Parkview, 200 backstroke
· Amanda Weir, Brookwood, 50, 100, 200 free