Swimming: Hunter Armstrong and Charlie Clark named to U.S. National Swim Team

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Ohio State sophomore Hunter Armstrong practices his backstroke during practice before leaving for Hawaii. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

Ohio State swimmers junior Hunter Armstrong and sophomore Charlie Clark were both named to the United States Swimming National Men’s Team roster Sept. 10 after their performances at the 2020 Olympic Trials and 2021 Speedo Summer Championships, respectively.

Armstrong earned his place on the roster at the 2020 Olympic Trials with his 100-meter backstroke time of 52.48.

Armstrong said his goal going into the Olympic Trials was to make the U.S. national team.

“It’s an absolute honor,” Armstrong said. “Going into the trials I just wanted to finish in the top six and I somehow managed to make the team.”

Clark achieved his roster spot at the 2021 Speedo Summer Championships with his qualifying time of 15:04.37 in the 1500-meter freestyle.

“I still haven’t wrapped my mind around it completely yet,” Clark said. “To be one of the fastest mile swimmers in the country is unreal to me.”

Out of the six swimmers who qualified for each event, Armstrong finished with the second-fastest time and Clark finished with the third-fastest time in their respective events.

Head coach Bill Dorenkott said the U.S. swimming national team is arguably one of the most elite sports teams in the world.

“It is a team that carries a great deal of prestige, but also a great deal of responsibility,” Dorenkott said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled for both Charlie and Hunter.”

Armstrong won a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo this summer, swimming backstroke in the 4×100 men’s medley relay qualifying heat.

He said winning the gold brought overwhelming emotions.

“I still struggle to put it into words,” Armstrong said. “As I watched our relay on the podium and our national anthem played, I broke down.”

Clark’s 1500-meter freestyle time at the 2020 Olympic Trials put him fifth in the nation, but after dropping almost 10 seconds at the 2021 Speedo Summer Championships, he became the third-fastest in the country.

Clark said he knew he made the roster at the Summer Championships, which was the last meet of the summer. He said realizing he made the team at that meet felt amazing.

“It felt really good because that had been my goal forever, to get on the national team,” Clark said.

The U.S. national team members get some extra benefits. Clark is excited for access to the Olympic training center at Colorado Springs, while Armstrong is excited to travel.

Armstrong and Clark were roommates last year, although they are very different people, Armstrong said.

“He’s one of those athletes that studies the sport and does everything perfectly,” Armstrong said. “Rooming with him has definitely taught me to be a better athlete and take the next step in my career.”

Dorenkott said the thing that sets Armstrong and Clark apart from their peers is their strong belief in themselves.

“I’ve been at Ohio State for 14 years, I’ve been coaching collegiately for 31, and I’d be hard-pressed to think of two guys who have improved as much, as quickly as those two guys have,” Dorenkott said.

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