For Emma Magnussen, 12, it’s a chance to compete at the North American Challenge Cup, Aug. 7 to 9, in Veracruz, Mexico.
Just to qualify for the event, Emma had to be among the elite swimmers in Pacific Swimming, which covers the California coastal counties from Monterey to the Oregon border, plus the Bay Areas and Central Valley between Stockton and Modesto.
She applied for the North American Challenge Cup team, and her performance at the Speedo Short Course Far Western Championships in April — where she placed second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.59 seconds — helped her make the team.
Now, she is preparing for a five-day trip, including three days of swimming against international competition.
“It’s a little bit bigger than Far Westerns, and you get to compete with people from Mexico and Canada, and you get to represent Pacific Swimming,” she said.
Ellis coaches noted that Emma was among six 11-12 girls from Pacific Swimming selected for the team, which brings a boost in prestige to Ellis Aquatics.
Emma said that her goal now is to go after higher time standards that could qualify her for USA Swimming’s national championships. “It’s really cool, because when I first came to Ellis, I gave (coach Pat Windschitl) a list of my goals, short term and long term. One of them was to be able to go on a travel meet at the end of the year.”
Her teammate Caitlin O’Neill, 12, will also represent Ellis and Pacific Swimming as she competes among swimmers from 13 states in the USA Swimming Western Zone Age Group Championships, Aug. 6 to 9, in Federal Way, Wash.
She is among 10 swimmers on the Pacific Swimming team and had to meet Western Zone time standards, a step above Far Western standards, in at least four events to qualify. She met those times in five events at the Far Western meet in Morgan Hill in April.
Caitlin said her best event is the breaststroke. She placed eighth in both the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.98) and the 200 breaststroke (2:31.01) at Morgan Hill, and she also met the Western Zone standard in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:21.34) — about 109.4 yards — at the Ellis Age Group Open meet Saturday and Sunday at West High.
It will be her second trip to the Western Zone meet, which she also attended as a 10-year-old.
“It’s fun. It’s also pretty competitive,” Caitlin said. “You’re competing with people from all over the U.S. and you’re still trying to make your team the best.”
She also will pursue faster time standards and said that the Western Zone meet is a good place for that.
“The bigger meets are where you’re going to be competing against better people, which will help me with my long-term goals.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.