Lee's Summit North, Virginia signee Daniel Worth looks to use US Olympic Trials as a learning experience

Cody Thorn
The Examiner

Lee’s Summit North standout Daniel Worth will be competing against some of the best swimmers in the world later this summer.

The senior who wrapped up his swimming career in November, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials that will be held June 13-20 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

He will be competing in the 100-meter breaststroke – an event that will have 120 swimmers battling to finish in the top two. The top two finishers will represent the U.S. in the event at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo in July and August.

“It is super crazy,” Worth said of qualifying. “I will get to watch the top swimmers in our country swim against each other. It will take a miracle for me to make the team. I’m just excited and super pumped about it seeing the best guys in the country swim.

“Going to see how they prepare to make the Olympics will help me learn what I need to do to get better.”

More:2020 Boys Swimmer/Diver of the Year: Worth cements legacy at LS North

Worth, who has signed to swim at the University of Virginia, is one only three that has qualified for the trials from the Kansas City area so far. Sisters Abby Karl and Avery Karl from Blue Valley North (Kansas) have also qualified for the trip to Omaha.

By doing so, Worth follows in the footsteps of Arizona State swimmer and former teammate Liam Bresette to make the trials.

Lee's Summit North senior Daniel Worth, left, checks his time after winning the 100-yard butterfly final in the Suburban Big Eight Championships last fall. Worth, a four-time breaststroke state champion, qualified for the 100-meter breaststroke at this summer's U.S. Olympic Trials in a meet in March.

Worth competed at the USA Swimming Section Meet Region 8 in Jenks, Oklahoma, held March 11-14, and secured his qualifying time in the event during the time trials. During competition, he came in second behind Luke Davis, a sophomore at the University of Missouri.

The event outside of Tulsa was first time Worth had competed in a long course in a handful of months. Worth, like most high school swimmers, are used to the shorter course – 25 yards down and then flip around to head back for another 25 yards.

“I think fast swimming is fast swimming, you are not just good at one or the other,” said Worth, a four-time Missouri state champion and state record holder in the 100-yard breaststroke. “If you’re fast you will be fast on a short course or a long course. I think there is a lot to it mentally. I know I can’t swim the same way on the long course. You won’t have the break at the wall or instead of four, six, seven or eight strokes, which is not as many when you swim a long course. You have like 10 more strokes in the same race, it is just in meters instead of yards.”

Worth has been working toward qualifying for the Olympic trials since the MSHSAA Swimming & Diving finals in St. Peters.

Lee's Summit North senior Daniel Worth had a dominant high school career, winning four state titles in the breaststroke. In March, Worth qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter breaststroke and will compete June 13-20 in Omaha.

He won the 100-yard breaststroke for the fourth time in his career and added an individual title in the 100-yard butterfly, while swimming the second leg of the 200-yard medley relay that set a Class 2 and overall state record.

More:Broncos' Worth adds to state title haul

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The Monday after the state meet, he was back to practice trying qualifying for the Olympic Trials. At the Junior Nationals event – which was split up due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year – Worth had a top-eight finish in the nation in the 200 breaststroke.

Worth also spent time in Arizona to train and competed in a short-course meet two weeks in Orlando, Florida. The offseason work helped him qualify for the Olympic Trials a year later than he planned.

“That was my goal last year, going into March, I had just gotten out of my massage and cupping and I got the call the swim meet was called off (due to COVID-19),” Worth said. “I put in all that work and they called it the night before the meet. I didn’t have a chance (to qualify), it was taken out of my hands completely. So, I was pretty pumped when I got (the time) two weeks ago.”