Heather Arseth became the first UM swimmer to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she will swim in the 100-meter freestyle.
Arseth, who also competed in the 2012 London Olympics for her native country, joins Sam Dorman (USA, synchronized 3-meter diving) and Marcela Marić (Croatia, 3-meter diving), as well as head coaches Randy Ableman and Andy Kershaw (USA), as Hurricanes swimming & diving representatives in Rio.
Kershaw and Ableman will both serve on the coaching staffs for Team USA.
“It is my second time in the Olympics, so I have a better idea of what to expect,” Arseth said. “It doesn’t take away from the excitement and the anticipation leading up to it. I’m definitely very excited to represent Mauritius, and it’ll be my first time representing The U, and that’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Arseth, who transferred to Miami prior to her junior season of 2013-14, said she was notified via email that she had been selected to represent Mauritius for a second time. She competed in the 200-meter freestyle in 2012.
“In London, during my first time at the Olympics, I was only 18 years old and I felt like I had a lot riding on my shoulders,” Arseth said. “I still feel that way, but I think I can manage the stress and the pressure a little better because I know what to expect. More than anything, I have confidence in my training and the training that Andy has provided for me for the last three years.”
Arseth, who competed at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in order to secure her spot for Mauritius, said when she woke up for training Tuesday morning, she had received an email notifying her of her selection.
“Even with the time difference, it was so exciting,” she said. “I texted Andy at 5:45 a.m. He was up getting ready for a flight for a training camp with Team USA. I’m sure no one else was awake, but it was a special moment to have someone to share that excitement with.”
One of Miami’s top point-getters during her two seasons at Miami, Arseth said she’s looking forward to reuniting with friends from across the globe after several international competitions.
“I’ve made a lot of friends with athletes from other countries,” Arseth said. “It’s cool to see them, talk to them, know faces in the crowd. It was a little overwhelming in London because I didn’t know anyone. Now I’ll be coming back with friends from all over the world.”
Arseth and Dorman both graduated from Miami in 2015, while Marić is a rising sophomore.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Arseth said. “We were all sitting and watching Sam at Olympic Trials and during preliminaries, same thing with Marcela, where the anticipation is so high. Then it’s me, and I’ve been waiting and finally get the email…it’s cool to be able to bring your family with you to one of the most amazing experiences you can ever have as an athlete.”