CUSD athletes ‘swim on’ to Olympic Trials

The crowd from inside the stadium in which this year’s Olympic Trials took place in Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Ellie Fitzgerald)

July 3, 2024 — Two seniors from the Clovis Unified School District have qualified to be in the Olympic Trials in swimming for their astounding athletic abilities.

One of those seniors is Clovis West alumni Hannah Marinovich, who placed 30th of 76 athletes in the 100m breaststroke and has also placed in the 200m breaststroke. She swam for the Clovis West swim team alongside her sister Hailey, who also recently placed at the 2024 CIF State Swimming & Diving Championships.

Hannah Marinovich looks forward to a future at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where she has received a scholarship.

Her coach Adam Reid has been familiar with Marinovich since she was born, being a close friend of her father and eventually becoming her coach for swimming at the high school level. Glowing with pride, Reid said that he sees her as almost a daughter to him and is proud of how far she’s come.

He stated, “We’ve had some incredible swimmers here, but she’s right up there with the best we’ve ever had.”

Marinovich’s determination and adeptness for the sport is evident especially in that this is not her first time competing in Olympic Trials, having also competed a few years prior.

Marinovich has shown herself to be incredibly resilient as well, having overcome prior injuries in her swimming career. These experiences in being helped by a physical therapist and eventually being able to swim again is what pushed her towards a potential career in physical therapy.

She has also been helped by Reid’s leadership of the team. She stated, “His dedication to the team and his strive for excellence is just unparalleled. I have never someone so dedicated to what they do.”

Additionally, rising senior Ellie Fitzgerald from Clovis North placed 74th for the 100m breaststroke.

Swimming, for Fitzgerald, was never just a sport – it was what helped her thorough the challenges she’s endured throughout her life. She describes it as an outlet, “something that I can always go back to. Even if I take a few weeks off, at a time I’ll go back and it’s like nothing’s ever changed.”

She attributed swimming being an outlet for her to the friendships she’d made on the team, and also shared her gratitude for her family. In talking about her family, Fitzgerald stated, “they’ve just supported me through all of my decisions I’ve made, and really got me to where I am … they’re just the greatest people I think I could have ever had.”

This year’s trials took place in Indianapolis and had a record attendance of over 22,000 people, more than has ever been recorded for a swimming meet.

Marinovich and Fitzgerald both expressed their appreciation for one another being present and able to participate with them at the event along with their families and coaches. Despite their being from rival schools, the two girls have become close friends beyond the swimming pools in which they compete against each other.

Marinovich stated, “I love her, I’m really happy she got her cut. She’s like a little sister to me.”

This was similar to Fitzgerald’s comments as well, who stated that “[Marinovich is] not just a great swimmer, she’s a great human being and I love her so much.”

Marinovich added that “swimming can be a really underappreciated sport … There’s still so many things that go unnoticed and even here in the Valley, we have some incredible athletes that are going to go on to do great things.”

Fitzgerald, like Marinovich, also has a bright future ahead of her in swimming – however, swimming isn’t the only sport she’s skilled in. She expressed a prior fascination with dance, water polo, and other sports when she was younger.

She looks forward to her last year at Clovis North with anticipation as she considers applying to schools such as the University of Michigan and Ohio State University.

Marinovich and Fitzgerald have both expressed an admiration and passion for swimming for years to come. They both look forward to the 2028 Olympics, which are scheduled to be hosted at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.