Remedy Rule isn't old enough yet to drive a car, and she's still a few months away from her first day of 10th grade. But next week she'll be competing against the best swimmers in the country.
Rule, a rising sophomore at Western Albemarle, leaves Saturday for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Neb. And she admits that the reality of the opportunity still hasn't completely sunk in.
"It's hard to explain. I don't know," Rule said Wednesday morning. "Like, sometimes I still get the feeling like, 'Wow, I'm going to Olympic Trials."
"People have been searching and reaching their whole lives just to have that experience," said Norm Wright, Rule's coach with the Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club. "And for Remedy to be 15, and last summer 14 years old and get these cuts, it's just unprecedented."
Rule began swimming with the SMAC program at age 9. Last summer she qualified for the Olympic Trials in three events -- 200-meter and 100-meter butterfly, and 200-meter backstroke.
And after a year of virtually nonstop preparation, Wright says Rule is ready.
"Yesterday we had a great practice. She was swimming fast times, fast enough to hit her goals for the meet," he said. "And then she came in today and I told her, 'Easy. Easy speed. Let's see what you've got.' And it was even faster."
"I just try to think about every little thing about my stroke, and about trying to hit my times," Rule explained. "And doing my best at practice."
The trials begin next Monday, with the 100-meter butterfly prelims among the races on the schedule. The 200-meter butterfly prelims will be held the following Thursday, then the 200-meter backstroke is the following Saturday.
Rule's top seed is No. 37 out of 144 swimmers in the 200-meter butterfly.
"Anybody who is going is looking to advance at least one round," said Wright. "So if we get that opportunity we'll be happy. And if we don't, well the fact that we're getting to go. We're coming home with a T-shirt, and the experience to catapult us into the next four years and into college is huge."
"I think it will definitely motivate me to want to swim," said Rule. "Just continue swimming and push me to want to make the Olympic team even more, since it's closer in reach than it has been ever before."