The Aquatics Club program has produced a number of highly competitive swimmers, including Dakota Hodgson, who qualified for the Olympic trials in the 200-meter fly at age 16. “Being able to compete and practice with people that are older and significantly faster than me has enabled me to really stretch myself as a swimmer. I try to keep up with Dakota in practice, because that really helps me grow.”
“In 2008, the Nashville Aquatics Club had the most high school level athletes at the trials of any other club,” he said. “This year we already have thirteen or fourteen, and we expect to have a couple more before the deadline. I only qualified in one event, so I can only swim in that event (the 400-meter I.M.). Only about half of one percent of swimmers in the U.S. even make the trials, so I feel pretty fortunate.”
Taylor would like to go to college on a swimming scholarship, but is not certain which school he wants to attend yet. As for now, he is focused on Omaha in late June and helping his mom get better.
Taylor says he realizes the sacrifices that his parents have made for him to compete at this level, particularly in light of his mother’s health challenges. “My parents do so much for us and so much for the sport in general.
The last few months have been pretty tough on all of us, but I didn’t want to quit, and they didn’t want me to either. Making the trials was just a way for me to say ‘thanks’ for all they do.” Taylor added, “My mom’s situation is something that certainly alters our lifestyle significantly, but we’re not going to let it beat us. The good thing is that it’s one of the most treatable forms of cancer when it’s caught early enough.
Ever since this has started and even through her losing her hair and everything, we’ve all been at peace, because we know God is going to take care of her, and she’s going to be OK.”
“I realize my time is on the low end of the qualifying scale, and there are a lot of really great swimmers going to Omaha, but I’m going to give it everything I have. And if I don’t make it this year, I really want to be able to go in four years,” he expressed.
If I were a betting man, I certainly wouldn’t bet against either one of them. After all, beating the odds is something the Charles family is pretty good at.