7 Cardinal swimmers ready for Rio

7 Cardinal swimmers ready for Rio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville is sending an impressive team of seven swimmers to Rio for the Summer Olympic Games.

Cardinal Swimming has come a long way in the last decade and sending such a big contingent to Rio with Kelsi Worrell representing Team USA is big for UofL Swimming and recruiting.

Coach Arthur Albiero couldn't be more proud.

"Every one of these guys have earned the right to be here," Albiero said smiling during a Thursday press conference. 

From the USA to Venezuela, Brazil, Finland, the Netherlands, Russia and El Salvador, the Cardinal crew is thrilled to be going to Rio.

Carlos Claverie, who will swim for Venezuela, said of getting to the Olympic Games, "I made the cut in the 200 breaststroke, and it was really exciting, like I can't describe!"

WAVE 3 News brought you Worrell's Olympic reaction after her first place finish in Omaha at the U.S. Olympic Swim trials, now she says it's starting to sink in.

"It's just really a dream come true to be going with some of my idols on the team and with Dana Vollmer. It's just really incredible and I'm just thankful for the coaching staff and the team here, I couldn't have done it without all these guys," Worrell said as she looked around the room.

So what about her Cardinal teammates?

Grigory Tarasevich, who will swim the 100 Back for Russia, said of making the games, "This was my goal since the beginning of the year and since the beginning of my career."

Maybe most excited? Teammate Andrea Kneppers. That's because Kneppers just found out it's official. She is the fifth fastest in the 800 free relay for the Netherlands.

"A huge relief," Kneppers smiled, "I had been waiting Sunday, Monday and then Tuesday all day and finally they called me at 3:10 and I was like 'oh my God!'"

The swimmers said they are not worried about the reported health or safety issues in Rio especially those who have trained there - or in Joao DeLucca's case, call Brazil home.

"I grew up there," he smiled," I'm going there to compete and honestly all these things they say about Brazil some of them are true and some of them, they exaggerate."

Tanja Kyllainen who will swim for Finland has trained in Rio.

"I spoke with a doctor and really we should not be worried about the Zika virus," Kyllainen said. "I did ask about the sewage problems and the beaches, but they said that really that's only a priority of the sailing team."

Teammate Marcelo Acosta who will represent El Salvado has already headed out of town.

By the way, Worrell, who said she hopes to make a good impression in and out of the water at the games, was asked what she thinks about when she's in the pool and she replied sometimes its music, like "Jesus Loves Me."

The Olympics begin Aug. 5 on NBC and WAVE 3 News.

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