Addie Rose Bullock has dreamed of reaching the Olympics ever since she was a young girl glued to the TV screen during the 2008 Summer Games.
Now that she has grown up, Bullock took her first step toward making that dream come.
Earlier this month, the recent Kennesaw Mountain High School graduate qualified for next year's Olympic trials in the 100-meter backstroke. She clocked in at 1 minute, 2.29 seconds during a time trial at the ESSZ Summer Long Course Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.
During her competitive years with Kennesaw Mountain and Cobb Stingrays swim teams, the Harvard-bound Bullock never anticipated that the backstroke would be the first event in which she would get an Olympic trial cut.
Once indifferent to racing on her back, Bullock recently developed a love for it, and now she has a shot at representing the United States in that very stroke.
“It was so exciting,” Bullock said of making an Olympic trial cut. “This was a goal that I had ever since I was a little girl watching the Olympics in 2008. I remember wanting to be on the Olympic team, and this is your step. It’s just unbelievably exciting going into summer.”
Bullock took a keen interest in the 100 backstroke in her senior year at Kennesaw Mountain, when she saw that she had the potential to best the top backstroke times of her junior season, including Lambert’s Caroline Aiken’s state championship-winning time of 55.58.
Bullock did just that by winning the state title in the backstroke with a time of 54.98, more than a second faster faster than Centennial’s Elly Deas (56.00).
“If you had told me four years ago that I got an Olympic trial cut in the backstroke, I would have been shocked,” Bullock said. “It’s weird how life works out. The important thing is to train at everything, not just one thing. (The Cobb Stingrays) have done a good job making me well-rounded. They really emphasize on being an all-around swimmer.”
Going into her swim in North Carolina, Bullock said she wanted to go out fast but stay calm and avoid wasting energy. It was not until the final 25 yards when she started kicking hard.
Once Bullock finished her swim and looked at her time, she screamed in excitement.
Bullock said her mother was ecstatic, as was Stingrays coach Ian Goss.
“It’s just an accumulation of all the hard work she has put in,” Goss said. “(The Olympic trials don’t) happen very often, and when it does, it’s a good feeling. It’s very special.”
Bullock’s celebration was not complete without sharing the news with longtime Kennesaw Mountain coach David Reason.
“She called me when she did it, and it was really neat to hear the excitement and relief in her voice,” Reason said. “She’s worked so hard and trained so hard for this moment. The pure joy in her voice is something that I will always remember.”
Now, Bullock is looking to get an Olympic trial cut in her primary stroke, the 100 butterfly. She will attempt to do so at the Speedo Summer Junior Nationals from Aug. 6-10 in Palo Alto, California.
After winning four Cobb County titles in the butterfly for Kennesaw Mountain and three state crowns, her chances of making a trial cut are favorable.