A former St. Andrew’s Aquatics club swimmer is currently competing for the University of Georgia but headed back home recently to train with a few familiar faces.
Reese Branzell, a native of Manalapan, hopes to eventually lead Team USA in Paris.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was 5 years old,” Branzell said.
And it’s a goal that’s within reach.
“It’s kind of surreal, honestly, to think that I’ve been swimming for so long, and I’m finally starting to reach … my pinnacle goal,” Branzell said.
His club coach at St. Andrew’s, Ramon Walton, always knew from the time he was a former Scot that he had this opportunity in front of him.
“Senior year, he came over to our club team, and he felt like he just needed a change to elevate his position in swimming,” Walton said. “It helped him kind of flourish and take over the group and be the leader for the group.”
He’s now at the University of Georgia, hoping that his time as a Bulldog will lift him onto the podium.
“I think being at Georgia and having an amazing coaching and support staff, and I’m around a bunch of incredible athletes,” Branzell said. “I think being in that environment … has definitely prepared me to take my swimming to the next level.”
As those Olympic trials grow closer, he’s hoping to finally reach his goal.
“As long as I just keep doing what I have to do and just staying in the water and training, I think I can take this to where I want to be and hopefully put myself on the Olympic team,” Branzell said.