Herricks High School senior Michael Lennon will compete for a shot at Olympics glory when he swims in the upcoming Olympics trials in Omaha, Neb.
“It’s pretty exciting. I really don’t know what to expect, because this is my first time,” Lennon said of the Olympic trials running from June 24 to July 2.
Lennon earned an opportunity to compete in Omaha with a personal best time of 15 minutes, 52 seconds in the mile during the summer national amateur competition in Irvine, Calif. last year.
Earlier this year, Lennon got a taste of the challenge he faces in the competition when he swam against Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps in the 400 individual medley and the 200 backstroke at an invitational club meet in Baltimore.
“Actually I was afraid of the water to start out. But the coach told me I was pretty good,” he recalled.
Since he was 12 years old, Lennon has been swimming for the Long Island Aquatic Club in 10 to 12 competitions year round.
Herricks has not consistently maintained a swimming team, but Lennon did compete in his freshman and senior years in high school.
He typically trains four hours a day. He said he has maintained a regimen of swimming for 90 minutes before school each morning and 2 1/2 hours after school each day.
“It really teaches you to compete against yourself. You hold yourself accountable for your own actions,” Lennon said.
Lennon said he applies a similar discipline in music. He played clarinet in the Herricks School Band during high school.
Lennon plans to continue competing as a swimmer in college, having earned a scholarship to the University of Connecticut starting in the fall.
In the meantime, he said he is focused on his Olympics dream and said he’s feeling confident about his chances to make the U.S. squad.
“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, so we’ll see what happens,” Lennon said.