By Rafael Salinas
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Sophomore swimmer Sage Speak earned the opportunity to represent Cal Poly at the U.S. Olympic Trials when she competed at the AT&T Winter National Championships at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash on December 3-5.
That feat has earned her the Papa John's Cal Poly Athlete of the Month Award for December.
Speak earned her chance to compete at the Olympic Trials in the 200-meter breaststroke by stopping the clock at 2 minutes, 33.51 seconds, on the final day of the Winter National Championships. That effort won her heat, a 16th-place overall finish, and came during the championship-qualifying round.
Her second qualifying time was achieved with a time of 1 minute, 11.48 seconds, in the 100-meter breaststroke. That time won her heat as well en route to a 35th-place showing overall in that event.
This award caps off what has been a hot year for the sophomore. On December 18, Speak finished her 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 17.89 seconds, and captured the 200-yard breaststroke for the Mustangs in a loss to San Diego State. That time bests her time at the Winter National Championships by a wide 15.62 seconds.
The monthly award follows her being named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Female Athlete of the Week earlier this season, a recognition she has earned twice this year. Speak earned additional praise as the Coca-Cola Cal Poly Student-Athlete of the Week on Dec. 7.
Speak also etched herself in second place on Cal Poly's all-time individual event top-five list for her 1-minute, 3.49-second effort in the 100-yard breaststroke. It's worth noting that Speak holds the second-fastest time among all Mustangs (2:15.99) in the 200 breaststroke as well.
Qualifying for the Olympic Trials puts Speak in the company of recent Cal Poly graduate Jimmy Deiparine as the two most recent Mustangs to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
She will be representing Cal Poly in both the 200- and 100-meter breaststroke events at the U.S. Olympic Trials slated to be held this summer ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 15-session, eight-day event is being held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and will run from June 26 through July 3, 2016.
Rafael Salinas is a senior journalism major at Cal Poly.