Two meets. One dance. Two days.
It all added up to a weekend of a lifetime for Tokay’s Mary Griffith.
“It’s a weekend I’ll never, ever, ever forget,” she said last Sunday night. “It’s really just sinking in right now. It really hasn’t hit me yet.”
Before noon rolled around on May 12, she had already become a three-time section champion in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard freestyle races — right in her home pole at Tokay High.
The very next day, she had earned a trip to June’s Olympic Trials after making the cut in the 100-meter fly at UC Davis.
And, oh yea, a little thing called Senior Prom was squeezed in between.
“I wouldn’t have anything go any other way,” Griffith said. “I’m just incredibly happy.”
And exhausted, but elated, too.
There were initial discussions, when finding out that all three events fell on the same weekend, about cutting out Sunday’s Davis meet. (Sections were sections, and skipping prom was, of course, out of the question.)
“My parents tried to talk me out of it,” she said. “They both said, ‘It’s okay, you don’t gave to go (to Davis).' I was really adamant about no, I want to go. I’ve worked so hard for four-to-five years. It’s an opportunity 45 minutes away.”
And so she went.
After getting home early from prom — “I’m not gonna lie, at times,” she said, “I was thinking, should I dance as much?” — Griffith drove with her family to Davis.
At race time, she was more relaxed than normal for meets, but still determined. As she got on the block for the long-course race, she thought to herself: It’s my time, I worked so hard for this and it’s gonna happen.
Griffith came out of the gates fast, but started hurting around the second lap.
“I felt the whole weekend on top of me,” she said. “I kept telling myself now, don’t give up, this is your time, just keep going.”
Griffith didn't remember her words after finishing. All she recalled was touching the wall and seeing the all-important digits: 1:01.86.
The trial cut time was 1:01.99.
She was going to Omaha.
“I just saw my eyes water,” said John Griffin, her Lodi Swim Club coach. “It’s such an incredible experience. She’s been chasing that time for three years. I’m just a very, very proud swim coach.”
And his pupil now gets to hang with elite company this summer. What happens in Omaha is really an after-thought at this point, however. Just to be surrounded by the top swimmers in the world is enough of a thrill.
“I know a lot of people dream of it, and I’ve dreamed of it,” Griffith said. “I feel like when I get there, I’m just gonna be swimming without any pressure because I’ve already accomplished what I want to. It’s going to be more icing on the cake.”