US-based swimmer Keanan Dols charts course to TokyoThursday, May 13, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
If all continues to go according to plan for Keanan Dols, the American-based swimmer is sure to spend part of his summer in Tokyo as one of Jamaica's representatives in Aquatics.
With an Olympic B qualifying time for the 200-metre individual medley (IM) already in the bag, Dols is currently on the path to join champion swimmer Alia Atkinson and diving flag-bearer Yona Knight-Wisdom in the pool at the Games, set for July 23 to August 8.
It has always been Dols' dream to parade his skills for the land of his birth at the big multi-sport event, and he is now that much closer to bringing that vision to fruition.
For him, the recently clocked new national record of 2:02.15, which dipped below the Olympic B standard of 2:03.26, represents the fruits of his labour while sporting the black, green and gold over the years through the age-group stages and as a senior at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia.
“That 200m swim was really exciting and really special. It has been a long time coming and I am really happy with it because it's the accumulation of years of hard work and dedication and it puts me in a great position towards representing Jamaica at the Olympics this summer. That's been the dream for many years and it feels amazing to have that dream becoming so close to reality,” Dols, who was born in Savanna-la-Mar, before migrating to the United States at the age of three, told the Jamaica Observer.
“It was my first long-course best since summer 2018 and it feels really good to be that far under the B standard and in the position that I am in now. It is a very good start to the summer and I am looking forward to the push towards Tokyo,” he beamed.
Prior to the breathtaking time clocked in a time trial swim at the TYR Pro Swim Series in California, Dols had been a model of consistency at the top of the season, clocking a series of personal bests at meets including the ISCA International Senior Cup in St Petersburg, Florida.
It was at that point that the 22-year-old made his Olympic intentions very clear with a tidy 2:03.74-clocking when placing fifth. In the 200 metre butterfly he posted 2:01.71, clocking 57.35 seconds at the halfway point to finish fourth.
Buoyed by those performances, a bubbly Dols returned a few weeks later to clock a new personal best of 2:00.03 in the 200-metre butterfly, lowering his old personal best of 2:01.32 and was a mere .06 off the B qualifying standard of 1:59.97.
Dols, a member of the Florida-based Gator Swim Club, who is rated as one of the most dominant IM swimmers since former Olympian Andrew Phillips, believes he is in the right environment to do continue his upward trend, as he credited teammates for his rise in confidence.
“I have been fortunate to not have been impacted significantly by the pandemic and I am really grateful to be part of the training group that I am in down in Florida. There are a lot of great teammates that push me to be better every single day and I learn a lot from everyone and I am really looking forward to building on the 200-metre butterfly and the 200-metre individual medley,” Dols reasoned.
“I think I'm capable of a 1:59 low or even a 1:58 high in the 200 fly and I'm looking forward to racing it again when I get the opportunity,” he added.
Given his stubborn determination and will to succeed, it would come as no surprise if the University of Pennsylvania student were to hit the 200m IM A standard of 1:59.67 and by extension the A or B standard of 1:56.48 or 1:59.97 for the 200m butterfly.
Should that be done, Dols would not only officially pack his bags for the Games, but he would also be the first Jamaican man to make more than one Olympic qualifying mark since Sion Brinn, who achieved the feat for the 50m and 100m freestyle events for the 1996 Atlanta Games.
“That is the expectation. I want to go to the Olympic Games and improve upon the times and then over the next year the goal is to make it into a major international final/semi-final,” the mechanical engineering student noted.
“With the Olympics in July, Short Course World Championships in December, Long Course Worlds in May 2022 and Commonwealth Games at the end of next summer there is a busy schedule of events to compete at and hopefully make a final/semi-final.
“But in order to achieve this, I need to continue to improve my level of training and continue working diligently each day. I'm happy with my results up to this point, but there is still much room for growth and improvement,” said Dols, who will next be in action at the May 14-16 Atlanta Classic.
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