Cary swimmer equals high school record, now eyes Olympics

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Olympic Games scheduled for this summer are still floating in unknown water. If they do happen, Cardinal Gibbons junior Claire Curzan is hoping to make a big splash.

In the state finals earlier this month, Claire backed up her previous national high school record in the 100-meter butterfly matching the exact same time of 50.35 seconds.

"What a coincidence," Claire said. "It's an honor. I mean so many amazing people have passed through high school. To be able to have my name in the record books is really special."

She also took gold in the 100-meter backstroke making three consecutive years the 16-year-old has won both of those events.

In November, she posted the fastest 100-meter butterfly time in the world automatically qualifying her for the US National Team.

"She's got some of the best underwater kicks in the world, her club coach Bruce Marchionda said. "She is tied for the fastest first 15 meters in the world."

That's good for Claire since speed is a passion.

"I love fast-paced stuff," she said. "I'm huge with competition, and I guess I have a short attention span. So, distance stuff is not really my flow. I really enjoy sprinting."

If the US trials go on as planned in June, Claire will be there. Until then she'll continue to train with her club team the TAC Titans.

"I think I've just loved the water from an early age," she said. "It just kind of drew me in, and I've never been able to find anything else that just makes me as happy."

A lot of effort has gone into honing that desire and talent, her club coach said.

"Not only does she have the talent, but she has the work ethic to go along with that talent," Marchionda said. "And that's why she has been able to achieve what she has done so far."

Asked whether she might have all the makings of a world champion, Marchionda replied, "yes. Yes."

Of course, college recruiters are salivating over the prospect of Claire swimming in their school colors. She's still narrowing down a long list - something definitely worth taking at a slower pace than her usual desired speed.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.