OMAHA — The town of Hartington kept a close eye on the Olympic Swim Trials here Tuesday.
Anne Stefanec, the granddaughter of Anne Wortmann and the late Rudy Wortmann, Hartington, and the neice and cousin of several others here, competed on the national stage Tuesday for a shot at making next month’s London Olympics.
The top two finishers in each event automatically qualify for the Olympic team.
She competed in the eighth of 17 heats Tuesday morning at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, finishing in fifth-place with a time of 1:04.5.
Stefanec qualified for the Olympic Swim Trials last summer in the 100-meter backstroke event.
Stefanec completed the 100-meter backstroke July 17 in the Los Angeles Invitational in under the Olympic-qualifying time of 1:04. Her 1:03.55 time gave the 6’2” UCLA swimmer an automatic berth into the Olympic Swimming Trials.
Her mom, 1968 Cedar Catholic graduate Mary (Wortmann) Stefanec, was very proud of her 21-year-old daughter’s effort and determination.
“She had the swim of her life. She got that 1:03.55 and she came out of the pool with that incredible smile on her face. That was the most beautiful, touching thing for a mom to see,” Mary said.
Mary said it’s a dream come true to not only have her daughter make the Olympic trials, but to have those trials back home in Nebraska.
“We have a lot of family in Omaha and in Nebraska. Oh my gosh, that’s why she wanted to make it so bad,” Mary said.
As soon as Mary finished congratulating her daughter, she dialed back home to Hartington.
Her relatives back here were very excited.
“I couldn’t believe it when she called,” Stefanec’s aunt, Carol Craig, said. “It’s going to be pretty crazy while she’s down in Omaha. I’m sure people will notice all of her fans cheering her on down there,” she said.
Stefanec has been around water all of her life, first learning to swim and getting comfortable in the water when she was 18 months old. She started competitive swimming at the age of five.