He Didn't Qualify for Olympics, but Wachenfeld is Still in the Swim
Basking Ridge swimmer Wachenfeld coaches local swim teams, plans college swim career with eye toward trying again in four years.
Although he may not have qualified for the Olympics summer games when he participated in the trials in Omaha in late June, local swimmer Bradley Wachenfeld, just graduated from Ridge High School, says he's like to try again in four years.
In the meantime, Wachenfeld hasn't gotten out of the pool for long. This summer, he and his sister, Amanda, who also was a swimmer on the Ridge team, both are part of the coaching staff for the summer teams at Pleasant Valley pool.
On Tuesday, Wachenfeld said that coaching swimmers who are younger than eight, all the way through the 15-18 team, can sometimes be stressful, but it's also a lot of fun.
And Wachenfeld remains on the swim team at the Somerset Hills YMCA through this summer. He qualified early in June to head to the Olympic trials based on his times in the YMCA's pool.
Wachenfeld also says he plans to continuing swimming when he heads this fall to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He said he plans to concentrate on swimming while at the university, while focusing on giving "another shot" at qualifying for the Olympics in the future.
Wachenfeld said he didn't really come close to qualifying based on his 400 freestyle swim at the Olympics trials in Nebraska, but he enjoyed the experience anyway.
He said he spent about five days in Omaha, heading out right after the Ridge high graduation, and he warmed up in the pool twice a day before his trial that Monday. He said he watched other swimmers on Tuesday, and returned that Wednesday.
Meanwhile, girls and boys enrolled in YMCA of Greater Omaha camp, sports and other summer youth programs received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the Olympic-hopeful swimmer, and also to hear his inspirational story, ask questions and even share a pool with Wachenfeld, according to information from the Somerset Hills YMCA.
The YMCA of Greater Omaha invited the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials qualifier and men's 400 Freestyle competitor to visit that Y during the week of the event. Even though he did not qualify for the U.S. 2012 Olympic swim team, "his passion for, dedication to and success in the sport of swimming make him an inspiration," said a news release from the Somerset Hills YMCA.
Wachenfeld visited the local YMCA to talk about his experience of being on the road for the Olympic Trials and he later held a question-and-answer session with the kids. After the discussion, he joined all the attendees at the pool, demonstrated some of his swimming skills, and participated in some informal races with members of the local Y swim teams, the release said.
Wachenfeld said on Friday he really enjoyed meeting the kids enrolled in the Omaha YMCA programs.
“Having the opportunity to talk with these kids is an inspiration, and that is what being a part of the Y is all about. It is my pleasure to be here and share my story,” said Wachenfeld.
The Y kids listened not only to Wachenfeld’s story about his Olympic Trials experience, but also about his background, in starting his swim career with the Somerset Hills YMCA team when he was about their age.
“Bradley is only 17 years old and a new high-school graduate, so he’s just a few years older than some of the kids who are hearing his story,” said YMCA of Greater Omaha's Group Vice President Faith-Anne Molyneaux. “We’re honored that he took the time to stop by our Y to share his story and spend some time with our Y kids. Maybe he’ll even inspire a future Olympic champion!”
As a member of the Somerset Hills YMCA Swim Team, part of the Northern New Jersey YMCA Swim League, Wachenfeld competed in the Men’s 400 Freestyle to qualify for the Olympic Trials with a time of 3.59.90, a team record at the Somerset Hills YMCA.
Wachenfeld also was a significant part of the Ridge swim team, especially during his senior year, while he was a captain.
Wachenfeld said his coaches, who spoke highly of his performances, and the high school team were "great" to swim with during his high school years.