A local swimmer is taking on his next challenge – the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Brooks Curry, a 20-year-old Dunwoody native, has qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in the men’s 100-meter freestyle. Curry, who attends Louisiana State University, will be the first American swimmer in program history to go to the Olympics and the first swimmer to participate in the 100-meter free since Jamaican-born swimmer Sion Brinn in 1996.
Curry came in fourth place in the 100-meter freestyle at the June 17 Olympic Swimming Trials, swimming with a time of 48.19 seconds.
“Looking up by the scoreboard and seeing the #4 by my name, it was surreal,” Curry said in an email. “To realize what I had worked for – I had done. [Fourth] place meant that I had made a guaranteed spot on the relay team, and it was the best feeling ever.”
Growing up, Curry swam at Dynamo Swim Club, located in Chamblee. Ian Murray became head coach of Dynamo in 2017, and met Curry not long after.
“He was one of those kids that you noticed right away,” Murray said. “He was very tall, very lanky. In a training setting, he looked like he was a little bit out of place, and [didn’t] necessarily know what was going on all the time. But when asked to go fast or when you saw him in a competition setting, something was a little bit different and you noticed it right away.”
Murray said he worked with Curry directly for about 18 months when he transferred to the swimming group that Murray was directly responsible for called “Senior 1.” Murray said when Curry came into that group, big colleges weren’t showing a ton of interest in him.
“He had a lot to learn in the training setting, but was willing to learn and would show up everyday, and committed the changes and worked hard,” Murray said.
That hard work paid off. At the 2018 Speedo Winter Junior Nationals, Murray said Curry began to have more success. Then, in 2019 at Junior Nationals, he “blew up.” He placed Top 3 in men’s 100-meter freestyle with a time of 50.08, and in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay, he helped the Dynamo team set a meet record and the National Age Group Record in their race.
During his first year at LSU, Curry was an SEC champion and holds the school record in the 100-meter freestyle. That record is 48.81 seconds, which is about two seconds faster than the next fastest time.
“Brooks made history for this program … This is the most difficult team to make in all of sports, hands down, history shows this,” said LSU Associate Head Coach Steve Mellor in a press release. “The work that has gone on behind the scenes for this to happen took a village and Brooks is a product of a man that believed he could shock the world.”
Curry said training for the Olympics is similar to what he’s used to at LSU, but getting to train with some of the best swimmers in the world has been a new experience.
“It’s really amazing getting to train with the best in the world,” he said. “It’s fun, everyone is cheering each other on and supporting each other. Especially when practice gets intense, everyone is pulling for each other.”
Curry said he’s looking forward to opening ceremonies and meeting other athletes from around the world.
“I’m not sure what to expect, but I am really looking forward to it,” he said. “To walk out and represent the USA, incredible.”