Steamboat Springs Every swimmer's dream is to compete at the highest level.
For Blake Worsley, that dream includes swimming in the Olympics. The recent University of Denver graduate and 2005 Steamboat Springs High School graduate took a huge step toward that goal on Wednesday.
Worsley qualified for the Canadian National Team at the Canadian World Championship Trials in Montreal.
By finishing third in the 200-meter freestyle event, Worsley will compete for the Canadian 800 relay team at the World Swimming Championships in Italy on July 27.
His time of 1 minute, 48.61 seconds was nearly two seconds better than his previous best. There also is a chance Worsley will get to swim as an individual in the event.
"It was just absolutely a joy," Worsley said Friday from Montreal. "It was really exciting and a thrill for me. It was a shock when I got out. It was the most exciting moment in my life. I've worked so hard to achieve this. I'm so excited to represent Canada in the World Championships."
Worsley wrapped up his collegiate career as one of the most decorated swimmers in DU history. He owns seven school records and was named an All-American this year. He also was named DU's Male Athlete of the Year.
For the past several weeks, however, Worsley was focused on making the Canadian National Team. He had been training before tapering off his workouts in the past several weeks.
"This will be a great experience for him getting to travel as part of the Canadian National Team, and more importantly, give him great experience in preparing to qualify for the next Olympic trials," DU swimming and diving coach Brian Schrader said in a news release.
Worsley said he didn't swim as well in the morning event Wednesday as he had hoped, but he still qualified for the finals.
He was in an outside lane during the finals.
"I had no idea whether I was in first, second or last," Worsley said.
But when he got out of the water, Worsley realized he was third and part of the Canadian National Team.
He'll swim the 400 free later on with a shot at qualifying for the relay and individual events.
Until then, he better have plans to get fitted for a maple leaf Speedo.
"It's always been a goal for me," Worsley said. "It's something that on paper seems easier than it is to do. It's been in my mind a long time. It's a goal to make the Olympics - that's every swimmer's dream. This is one more step to doing it. It's so surreal - I can't explain how excited I was."