SAN ANTONIO – There’s no place like home.
For years, San Antonio native Mikey Calvillo trained and competed at the Northside Swim Center as a member of both the O’Connor High School swim team and the Alamo Area Aquatic Association club team. On Wednesday afternoon, Calvillo returned to the Alamo City as a senior at Indiana University, ready to take part in the TYR Pro Swim Series.
“I’ve told a bunch of former coaches of mine that I never thought I would be racing here again,” Calvillo said. “When I heard that the meet was going to be here, I was like, ‘Alright, I have to go.’ I talked to my coaches to see if we could get a team down here. It’s a really great pool, it’ll be outside, and it’ll be really fun.”
Calvillo was one of 27 swimmers who competed on Wednesday afternoon in the meet’s first event, the 800 meter Freestyle. He held 30-second 50s for the majority of the distance and negative split his race to finish second overall in 8:07.64. His time was 1.72 seconds faster than his seed.
“I was pretty excited, especially since it was in my home pool. I was in a pretty good mood, so I think that carried me through the rest of the race. I was racing one of my teammates, so I was chasing him down, and once I passed him, I was feeling pretty good.”
The TYR Pro Swim Series marks the first long course meet of the 2022 season and serves as a great testing ground for the nation’s best. Olympic Gold Medalists Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel headline a field that includes 21 members of the United States Olympic Team that took part in the 2020 Tokyo Games this past summer. Calvillo is eyeing a spot on the US National Team roster for the 2022 World Championships in Budapest this June. The American trials for the meet are roughly one month from now.
But Calvillo isn’t the only San Antonio native swimming alongside the titans of the sport. Twelve athletes from the AAAA swim club are also on hand, and Calvillo says the experience they gain will prove invaluable.
“I was in the same position as they are when I was a junior in high school,” Calvillo explained. “My coach signed me up for these Pro Swim Series, and I was really hesitant at first, but he told me that these will be great learning experiences. He was right. I learned a lot, and I really think that helped change the trajectory of my swim career. I’m really excited to see the AAAA swimmers swimming with us at such a young age. I’ve known a few of them since they were 11 or 12, so to see them as high schoolers is kind of weird, but it’s exciting to see them up and racing with us like big kids now.”
Calvillo is currently scheduled to swim four more events over the final three days of competition. He next dives in for the 400 meter Individual Medley on Thursday morning. Prelims begin at 9 a.m. Finals start at 6 p.m.