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Germantown Academy’s Atkinson qualifies for Olympic Trials in three events

Submitted Photo Zach Spain, Emma Atkinson and Henry Morrissey (pictured left to right), seen after competing at Eastern Zones, have had outstanding summers for the Germantown Academy Aquatic Club. (Submitted Photo)

Germantown Academy’s Emma Atkinson will be competing at the USA Swimming Phillips 66 National Championships later this summer, heading west to the Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Once again, she’ll be going against the best in her sport. But this time, she’ll have a little bit of company, getting to hang out with some of her future Virginia Tech teammates.

“It’ll be a pretty cool bonding experience,” said the rising senior. “It’s usually just me, myself and my music…”

Atkinson has been setting a unique course this summer.

A standout member of the GA Aquatic Club, she recently notched three U.S. Olympic Trial Qualifying times, pushing to outstanding marks in the 100-meter backstroke (1:01.37) and 200 back (2:10.33) as well as the 200 free (1:59.88). She swam all three times at the Jersey Wahoos Summer Solstice at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

Amazingly, she said the swims simply felt like an afternoon practice.

“I wanna see what I can do when I’m suited up and rested,” she said.

Atkinson is ranked 10th in the nation in the 200 back — not just in her age group, but overall.

“That’s really cool because I’m only 17,” she gushed.

“She has had one outstanding summer,” said her coach, Jeff Thompson. “She’s had a nice, healthy trajectory for a while now and is getting to enjoy the fruits for her labor.”

Head for Open Waters

Atkinson also competed in her first-ever Open Water 5K, winning the women’s event at the Eastern Zone Open Water Championships in Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury, Conn.

“The women went off after the guys,” Thompson said, “and she caught and passed half of the men.”

Texting her friend for pointers in the days leading up to the race, Atkinson executed her plan to perfection, and qualified for the 2020 U.S. Open Water National Championship.

Finding a new passion in the open waters, Atkinson looks forward to the challenge of more 5K and even 10K events.

What a Group

Also at Eastern Zones, Henry Morrissey of the GA Aquatic Club won the men’s competition in the Open Water 5K, qualifying for 2020 Nationals.

Teammate Zach Spain, a rising senior, medaled in the event, pushing to eighth.

At the Jersey Wahoos Summer Solstice, Morrissey, a rising sophomore at GA, achieved his first USA Swimming Junior National time standard, going 16:00.52 in the 1,500 freestyle.

That ranks him second in the entire nation in his age group.

Said Thompson of Morrissey and Spain: “The future is bright.”

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