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‘My mother is probably crying’ – Chicago Tribune

INDIANAPOLIS – Aaron Shackell celebrated his Olympic dream Saturday night by throwing his goggles and swimming cap on the ground.

Alex Shackell fully anticipated the move as she watched her brother compete from the warm-up pool a short walk away. Their proud parents, meanwhile, were part of a record-breaking indoor swimming crowd and took it all in.

For the Shackells, Father’s Day weekend and the first day of the U.S. Olympic Trials started off perfectly.

Aaron Shackell became the first American to qualify for the Paris Games winning his race with a time of 3 minutes, 45.46 seconds – just minutes after his sister qualified for the women’s 100 butterfly final on Sunday evening.

“I think a lot of people get nervous looking at 20,000 people in a stadium and I think that makes me go fast,” Aaron Shackel said. “I’ve always dreamed of performing in a basketball arena, a football stadium and swimming, you know, hasn’t always had the opportunity to put on a show in front of 20,000 people. It’s everything to me.”

Shackell knows the Lucas Oil Stadium story well. He lives and trains for the trials near Carmel, Indiana, a northern suburb of Indianapolis.

It’s the site the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts call home, the site of the 2021 Men’s Final Four, the site of the 2022 National Championship Game and this year’s NBA All-Star Saturday night. And now, the first football stadium to host the trials will also be known as the place where a graduate of Carmel’s perennial swimming program became the first American to qualify for the Paris Games.

The 20,689 people in the crowd and his sister roared with approval.

“My mom’s probably crying,” Alex Shackell said. ‘He has all these interesting celebrations, so I knew he would do something.

The Shackells certainly know swimming.

Their father, Nick, was an All-American at Auburn and competed for England in the 1996 Olympics. Their mother, Ali, was also an All-American swimmer at Auburn. This week, all three of their children are among the 1,007 swimmers competing in the nine-day competition.

But few expected this, even after Aaron Shackell opted to take a redshirt year in California to focus on making his first Olympic team.

“I trusted (Carmel coach) Chris (Plumb), and I knew if I came back (here) I would improve somehow,” Shackell said. “And if I didn’t make it, that was okay. I knew I was doing everything I could, so I really had to think about that.”