Former Carthage swimmer makes cut for U.S. Olympic trials

Jun. 10—INDIANAPOLIS — From the swimming pool at the Fair Acres Family Y in Carthage to the pool inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, 2020 Carthage High School graduate Brayden Cole has reached one of his goals as an athlete — to compete for a chance to swim for the United States in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Cole swam 1:02.94 in prelims and 1:01.85 in finals of the 100-meter breaststroke, with the latter mark besting the Olympic trials standard of 1:02.19. His time tied the 51st seed among at least 85 total entries in the 100-meter breaststroke.

It means Cole qualified in his last chance for the 2024 Olympic trials, which will be held in the same pool in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis June 15-23.

"So I get one more week of training and then I get to get on it," Cole said in a telephone interview Monday with The Joplin Globe. "The funny thing is I'm a procrastinator by nature, so this Stadium Splash served as a last chance type of opportunity. It was the test of the facilities for the actual trials next week, but it also served as a last chance and on my last possible attempt I qualified."

Cole described how he felt when his time went on the scoreboard.

"It was just pure elation," he said. "I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that level again, I was too stunned to speak. There were too many emotions, really. It was awesome."

Cole has been swimming for the University of Indianapolis.

According to the university, Cole, who is returning to UIndy for a fifth year in 2024-25, will be one of only seven active Division II student-athletes competing at the upcoming trials. He will race in the 100-meter breaststroke prelims on Saturday, June 15, with the top 16 times advancing to the semifinals.

Cole is a six-time All-American for the Greyhounds. He handled the breaststroke leg for UIndy's national championship win in the 200-yard medley relay at the 2024 NCAA Division II championships last March, in which the team set a DII record. Individually, he placed third at nationals in the 100-yard breaststroke.

"I came up here in the fall of 2020, it took me a little bit to find my footing going so far from home," Cole said. "I'm a homebody, I really like being around my people. I had to find my own way by myself and it was hard, but then I really settled into a training routine with a coach that cared about me and really just ironed it out. Year after year, I found something that clicked a little bit more and a little bit more, and I have progressed to where I'm at now. I'm really blessed, to be honest with you — just so many moving parts."

Cole gave credit to coach Braden McBride of the Carthage High School swim team and coach Shawn Klosterman with the Berzerkers summer swim team in Webb City for providing the base he needed in his swimming career.

"Those guys pushed me when I needed it and I wouldn't be here today without them providing me a platform to excel," Cole said. "I'm thankful, I'd tell everybody, when you stick with something long enough eventually it will pay dividends one way or another. I would push perseverance, just keep going."