Amid cheering, Farragut native Christian Baker made the cut for the 2016 Summer Olympic Trials.
His freestyle swim was part of the Tennessee Aquatics June Invitational.
“I always joked that I was the realistic 5-year-old who, when people said, ‘Do you want to make the Olympics?’ I’m like, ‘Nah, just the Olympic Trials.’
“So I’ve kind of reached what I always thought would be the pinnacle of my career but never knew if it was possible. So, it feels pretty good.
“It’s kind of some weight off my shoulders,” he said.
Baker registered a time of 3:56.92 in the 400-meter free-style, Saturday, June 5.
“It was kind of a now or never moment,” he said.
“This was truly an imminent moment. I got one shot.
“It was not ideal, but I think it all got my adrenaline going and it worked out in my favor in the end,” he said.
Baker did a flip turn after swimming 200 meters halfway through the trial but realized people were still cheering and his muscles had not given out yet, he said.
“So I was like, ‘OK, I think this is happening.’
“When I touched the [long-course 50-meter pool], I looked up and everyone was still cheering, I didn’t even look at the time, I just … collapsed back in the water because I knew it had happened,” he said.
“I’ll just be ecstatic to be there,” he said regarding the trials.
The Olympic Trials for freestyle swimming will be from June 26 to July 23. Baker’s event, the 400 freestyle, will be the first day.
Just reaching the TNAQ June Invitational proved difficult.
Baker said his air flight was delayed three times and he missed a connecting flight from Dallas to Knoxville.
He spent the night in a chair in Dallas and then flew into Knoxville the next day. He said he missed his event.
However, he did a time trial by himself on Saturday.
Baker said he has trained since he was age 6 or 7 with Pilot Aquatic Club, which is now called Tennessee Aquatics.
A 2013 Farragut High School graduate, Baker swam for the FHS team.