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Swimming & Diving: Alumni, Aquatic Club Members to Compete at Olympic Team Trials

In 1924, before Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana played host to the Olympic Team Trials, the state hosted the event at Broad Ripple Park and featured Johnny Weissmuller, who later went on to play Tarzan in 12 movies from 1932 to 1948 and later starred in 16 “Jungle Jim” movies and 26 half-hour episodes of a TV series.  Weissmuller retired undefeated, featuring five Olympic golds and 67 world records. While no famous actors will be competing at the 2024 trials, there will be multiple athletes with ties to Germantown Academy and Germantown Academy Aquatic Club. 

Landon D'Ariano '24, Emily Hamill '25, Henry Morrissey '22, and Anya Mostek (GAAC) will descend onto the home of the Indianapolis Colts (NFL) for Trials from June 15 to June 23. Emma Atkinson '20 also qualified for the Trials, but is unable to attend. Head Coach Jeff Thompson explained how the team has been training leading up to the competition.  

"The school season is all held in short-course pools," Thompson said. "Trials and most international competitions are held in long-course pools. We obviously don't have that here, so we've been training at Ashbourne Swim Club and we've been going out there, the whole team, for about a month now. We've been trying to keep the kids on their training cycles and we've let them sleep in a little more to be on the schedule we'll be on in Indianapolis."

Landon D'Ariano '24

D'Ariano recently capped off an illustrious career with the boys swimming team at GA, but started with the Aquatic Club about six years ago. He will be swimming in the 400 IM on Saturday, June 16, and in the 200 IM on Thursday, June 20. D'Ariano has experience going against college and professional level swimmers from competing at Phillips 66 Nationals last year, and thinks that that will set him up well. However, he said he just wants to come away with a positive experience.

 "This is my first trials and it could be someone else's third or fourth," D'Ariano said. "No matter what, I'm going to be a little blown away. So I'm trying to stay level-headed and learn a lot. My best chance to make a final is the 400 IM, so I'd personally like to make that, but even if I drop time in prelims, I'll be happy. It's all just a good learning experience."

Thompson says: "Landon has a really big engine, and he's got a motor that never stops. He is relentless with everything he does, he's fearless, and he's used that to his advantage."

Emily Hamill '25

Hamill will be swimming in the 100 Backstroke on Monday, June 17 and the 200 Backstroke on Thursday, June 20. She had an excellent school season, setting multiple records and claiming Inter-Ac League MVP. Hamill said that this has always been a dream and goal since she was a little kid, and that being to be able to go alongside her teammate in D’Ariano makes it even more special.

"I'm excited to go and represent GA in Indy," Hamill said. "My main goals are to have fun and enjoy the experience. This is a huge achievement for me, and I am simply going to enjoy this journey, learn important lessons I will use throughout my swim career, and overall just take it all in. I hope to qualify with even faster times in 2028."

Thompson says: "Emily has an engine and a great feel for the water. It's a gift and she has worked that gift and parlayed it into great success in the pool."

Henry Morrissey '22

Morrissey came to GA in seventh grade, met Thompson, and the rest is history. He called deciding to swim with GAAC one of his best decisions ever, and is still in close contact with members of the team and coaching staff even while swimming collegiately at Stanford. Morrissey will be competing in the 1500 Freestyle on Saturday, June 22 and the 800 Freestyle on Monday, June 17. 

"I've had the opportunity of doing some bigger USA Swimming competition, but never with this many people," Morrissey said. "I'm really excited. A lot of people say this is the fastest meet in the world -- even faster than the Olympics sometimes. So I'm really excited to watch some fast swimming and hopefully have some top times myself."

Thompson says: "Henry Morrissey's passion and love for the sport are probably second to none. That love and that passion brought him to the pool everyday, and he loves to work really hard. He's also really tall, which you can't teach. 

Anya Mostek (GAAC)

A sophomore at Harvard University, Mostek was named All-Ivy League First Team in the 100 Back, 200 Back, and 400 Medley Relay while also earning All-Ivy League Second Team honors in the 200 Free Relay, and 200 Medley Relay during the 2023-24 season. She had competed in dual meets against GA swimming for The Baldwin School, and knew Hamill from their previous club team. Mostek said Hamill recommended she come train with Thompson for the summer. Mostek will be swimming in the 100 Backstroke on Monday, June 17. 

"Making trials has been my goal for so long," Mostek said. "I don’t want to get caught up in the pressure. I want to celebrate my journey and see what I can do when it is my turn to race. Swimming is hard. There is no way around the mental and physical investment one must make to see good results, but this group at GAAC is truly special as they have an energy and commitment that I have not seen with other clubs. I am so grateful for the opportunity and have met many amazing people at GAAC."

Thompson says: "Anya is six-plus feet tall, and you can't coach height. She also has great talents, and she has worked those talents."

Emma Atkinson '20

Atkinson was a standout for the GA girls swimming team from 2016-20 and continued her success at Virginia Tech, where she has been a foundational piece for the program. Atkinson has swam at NCAAs in all four years of her career with the Hokies, earning individual invites in her freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons while swimming as a relay-only swimmer during her senior year. She will be returning to Blacksburg next year for her COVID-19 fifth year. Atkinson still owns the Germantown Academy record in the Girls 200 Freestyle (1:45.77), 100 Freestyle (49.71), and 100 Backstroke (52.80). She explained the growth of the Aquatic Club, and the impact it has had on her career.

"I learned a lot about swimming and the science behind it and technique, but I would say the life lessons that Jeff has taught me over my four years were the most important," Atkinson said. "I'm still learning from him. He's a very insightful guy. He is always there for guidance and he was really a big role model that I had. 

"When I first got there, I was the only one who qualified for big National meets. For four years I was traveling with Jeff or Donnie [Brush] by myself because no one else had qualified for these meets. I think it was last year at the US Open, I saw JJ Freeman '23, Emily, Karly Boles '25, and Landon. It was weird because I never had that opportunity with my team, but the fact that these kids are qualifying for these big meets -- and not just one of them, like a whole handful of them -- and they're able to go and compete and make a final or drop time, like that says a lot about how this program has grown."

Thompson says: "Emma Atkinson, I remember when she first tried out at the end of eighth grade, before she came to GA. She jumped in the pool, pushed off the wall and did three dolphin kicks. I turned and looked at her mom and told her 'Emma will be unbelievable.' I saw everything I needed in those two seconds when she pushed off the wall. Emma is fearless, and an incredible athlete with a great attitude."