MIDLAND, Texas — Multiple athletes at the swimming and diving Olympic trials have trained right here in Midland. Samantha Pickens, Charlye Campbell, Natalie Hinds, Tarrin Gilliland and Braden Vines are all in Indianapolis fighting for a spot on the United States Olympic team.
What do they have in common? All five of them train at COM Aquatics.
It started in 1967 when a group of midland parents didn't just want their kids to be great…but Olympic. After hiring the best swimming coach from Australia, a country that dominated aquatic sports at the time, those parents weren't done building their program.
"They wanted to be the Green Bay Packers of swimming." said President of Community of Midland Aquatics Brad Swendig.
COM eventually acquired one of the best diving coaches in the country, before even having a diving team.
Swendig added, "Then we decided well…let's try make to make it the best diving program we can and that's why we added the tower."
COM's Olympic regulation height diving board is the only privately-owned indoor tower in the world. That, combined with state of the art water belt equipment is what sets this center apart from other facilities in the country.
Today, those inspired parents can look back and say all of their efforts weren't in vain. They started an Olympic level training facility in the middle of our West Texas desert, and from the looks of it, the aquatic center isn't done growing yet.
UPDATE: Samantha Pickens will compete this Saturday at the Olympic Trials to qualify for the olympic team.