LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It has become an annual right of summer: several University of Louisville swimmers heading overseas to represent Team USA and other countries in major international events.
This time, it's the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Cardinals head coach Arthur Albiero is a Team USA coaches, the fifth time he has been coaching one of the national teams. Three of his Cards will be on Team USA:
Mallory Comerford will swim the 100 Freesytle and relays, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia will do the 50 and 100 Butterfly and relays, and Zach Harting will swim the 200 Butterfly. All three are now graduates but have chosen to stay in Louisville and train together with Albiero and the U of L coaching staff.
"Some of the athletes can go anywhere they want in the world, but they are remaining here to be part of what we're doing," Albiero said. "I think it says one very important word for our program and that's partnership."
"This is like a family now," Dahlia added. "I can be completely honest with Arthur, and I know he's gonna give me honest feedback. I really appreciate what (assistant coach) Stephanie (Juncker) tells me ... and so we have a really good system, and I love being here, and I wouldn't want to move."
"We've all had success here," Harting said. "We're very comfortable showing up at practice and the weight room. We know what (Assistant Director/Olympic Sports Performance) Jason's (Dierking) planning, where we're building strength, where we're more focused on speed. We know where we're at in the cycle, because we've been through the cycle multiple times. That builds trust with us and the coaches and also allows us to bring feedback."
They help each other as well.
"We all have a really great relationship," Comerford said. "I think having them keeps me sane. Without them, I wouldn't be able to make it through the grind."
There are four other Cardinal swimmers representing their home countries in the World Championships. They will also have participants in the World University Games and the Pan American Games. all part of what Albiero has been building as he enters his 17th year as Louisville head coach.
"There are very few collegiate programs in the country that are feeder programs to the national team like we are now," Albiero said. "It's a clear vision that we have that we don't want to be just a collegiate program. It's much more that that. You talk about student-athlete experience; This is student-athlete experience. It's putting people in position to be the best they can be and have a chance to compete worldwide, and we're doing that."
The Cardinals fly to Singapore on Sunday for 10 days of practice and preparation with the rest of the USA squad then head to South Korea. The 18th FINA World Championships are July 21-28th.
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