Kenzie Buss had quite a day Tuesday in the pool and it only last a little over 63 seconds.
The Shawano High School senior-to-be competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter backstroke at Omaha, Neb., and tied for 79th in the event among 162 swimmers. Buss swam her preliminary race in 1 minute, 3.97 seconds to win her heat.
"It was quite exciting," said Buss. "It was crazy. The lights were so bright around the pool and you look up at the crowd and it's black. It was like the spotlight was on me."
Buss' qualifying time of 1:03.94 seeded her near the back of the field but she made a big jump with her time; although it wasn't the time she hoped for.
"It wasn't as fast as I would've liked," Buss said.
Buss was 4.43 seconds off the No. 1 preliminary time of 59.54 by Missy Franklin and fewer than two seconds off the final qualifying time for the semifinals (top 16 go to semifinals Tuesday night), which was 1:02.22.
Buss admitted she was nervous just before the start of her race.
"I don't even know (what was going through my mind)," Buss said. "I've done this race one million times and I was just trying to calm myself down."
Buss flew in her first 50 meters and was timed at 30.74, but her final 50 was 33.23.
"My going-out time was as fast as it's ever been," she said. "I got real tired. I gave it my all."
Buss, who won the Division 1 state title in the 100-yard backstroke title last season and as a freshman (she placed second as a sophomore), said despite swimming in other big events there was nothing to prepare her for Tuesday's experience.
"I don't know if anything can prepare you for something that big until you do it a couple times," she said. "It was crazy. At world trials I looked down and my hands were shaking. Monday night my whole body was shaking.
"I didn't get much sleep."
Buss' hope Tuesday was to knock about one second off her qualifying time, but she fell short in that area. Nonetheless, she feels good about her swimming future.
Buss hopes to return to the Olympic Trials in 2016 and maybe really make something special happen. Before then, she hopes to sign a national letter of intent to swim in college.
"This has been so motivational," Buss said. "Anything's possible."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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