"I have Olympic Aspirations"

It was during the 2006 Pac-10 swim tournament, that doubts plagued the mind of Washington freshman swimmer Kim Jasmer. She was struggling and seething with frustration. Even though she seemed earmarked for greatness, she found this level of competition to be faster and more intense than when she had dominated at North Bend High School in Oregon.

Jasmer had come from a small coastal town, and a small swim team. She had always trained by herself, from childhood through high school. But now at Washington, she was suddenly in the big city, and regularly training with several teammates. Three of them were senior co-captains—Megan Bright, Liya Liu and Sharon Olson. And it was thanks in large part to Olson that Jasmer's career suddenly ascended to a new level.

"At the Pac-10's last year, I wasn't performing as well as I should have been," said Jasmer recently in a quiet voice. "Our captain was Sharon Olson. She was there after every session, constantly reminding me of all the hard work I had put in and that I still had time left to turn things around. I was dwelling on the negative a little bit, and she helped calm me down and to focus on the positives. She really helped turn things around for me—both at that meet and for the season. All of our captains were like that for me. I don't know how they knew how to motivate so well, because I am not as good a motivator. But we had a lot of individual and team goals, and they always knew exactly what to say to help us accomplish our goals."

Those talks at the 2006 Pac-10's certainly took some effect. Jasmer went on to set the UW record in the 500 free with an NCAA consideration time of 4:49.15 to win the consolation final. A year later, Jasmer was back at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships as a sophomore. This time around, she possessed not only a year of collegiate experience, but also a healthy dose of confidence. She was slated to compete in four freestyle events: the 200, 500, 800 relay and the 1,650.

"The 200 and 1,650 in particular do compare to a sprint and a marathon," Jasmer said. "I'm not usually a 1,650 swimmer. I am traditionally more of a 200 and 500 freestyle (swimmer). This year I have gained a lot of endurance and strength, so we tried the mile at the Pac-10s, and it was really successful. But it isn't a normal occurrence for me to compete at a distance like that.

"It was while I was at this year's Pac-10's that my career clicked and it felt like I went to a new level," she added. "That first night I competed in the 800 Freestyle Relay. I did the first leg of the relay, and I dropped over two seconds off of my lifetime best and broke the school record. From that moment, I realized that I was at a different level than I had ever been at before."

Jasmer was asked if she noticed the transformation in herself while she was competing in the water, or while reflecting afterwards.

"While I was in the water, it just felt different," she said. "It is definitely more mental than physical. I am definitely in the best shape of my life, but the mental aspect—believing that you can get to a higher level—is probably the hardest thing to overcome for swimmers."

Following her successes at the Pac-10 swim meet, Jasmer faced the distinction of being the UW's lone representative last month in the 2007 NCAA tournament. She flew back to Minnesota, accompanied by her coach, Whitney Hite. Jasmer placed 29th in the 200 free, 11th in the 500 free and 16th in the 1,650 free. The 11th place showing in the 500 free earned her Honorable Mention All-American honors as a sophomore.

"I have pretty lofty goals going into the 2008 season," she said. "I do have Olympic aspirations. The 2008 Olympics are very close, but I figure that I will stick around for the 2012 games and make a run at it. I will try this year too—I'm qualified for the Olympic trials. That will be the focus of my 2008 summer season, so we will see.

"As far as next season (with the Huskies), I plan on scoring considerably more points at the NCAAs. As a team, our goal is to finish in the top ten in the nation. We have a lot of great freshmen talent coming in, and that's going to make a huge difference. The recruiting was very good this past season. We are all very excited to see how far we can go."
Derek Johnson can be reached at uwsundodger@msn.com

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