October 10, 2023
Vera Conic, 15, a member of the Palatine Tiger Sharks Swim Team, was selected to the USA Swimming National Select Camp, held at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. USA Swimming recently announced the names of the 104 athletes, from across the United States, chosen for the 2023 Camp. The girls’ session of the camp takes place October 26-29.
According to USA Swimming, the purpose of the camp is “to provide a one-of-a kind experience for athletes to develop both on and off the pool deck.” During the three-day camp, the 52 girls will experience the daily routine of a national team athlete, including staying at the training center.
This is the first time a swimmer from the Palatine Tiger Sharks has been invited to the camp
according to Tony Gallagher, Palatine Tiger Sharks Head Coach/Swim Team Coordinator. Conic is a student at Rolling Meadows High School and has been with the Tiger Sharks since she was seven. “Being selected is a testament to the time, effort, and sacrifices that Vera has made as a member of the program,” Gallagher said. “Throughout her time with Palatine Park District, Vera has shown that she is willing to push herself towards her goals.”
Conic has a history of swimming achievements. “As early as 9-10 years old, Vera has been an Illinois State Champion in backstroke events,” Gallagher said. “As she progressed, into the 11-12 and 13-14 age groups, she continued her development on her way to setting state records, winning additional state championships in a variety of events, and being nationally ranked.”
Conic is known in the pool and out of the pool for her positive attitude. “Vera has a vibrant personality, relentless work ethic, and is the consummate teammate,” said Gallagher. “Each practice and competition, Vera brings her best regardless of the time of season. Her work ethic allows her to train and compete at levels that make her and her teammates better,” he added.
Athletes were selected for the camps based on the following criteria:
The top three athletes in each event, based on Long Course Meters (LCM) competition ranking from September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2023.
The six female and six male athletes with the highest individual IMX Power Point scores between September 1, 2022-August 31, 2023.
The top two open water athletes in the 7.5k as well as the top 14-year-old athlete and 15-year old athlete in the 5k from the 2023 USA Swimming Open Water Junior Nationals.
According to USA Swimming, numerous national team athletes and Olympians have previously attended the national select camps, including Katie Ledecky, Bobby Finke, Lilly King, Michael Andrew, Hali Flickinger, and Kieran Smith.
New this year, USA Swimming is offering a home coaches track, which provides opportunities for coaches from across the country. Gallagher will accompany Conic to the training center and take advantage of educational opportunities, connections with USA Swimming staff, and networking with other coaches from across the country.
Gallagher has been the Head Coach/Swim Team Coordinator for the Tiger Sharks since 2013. “I have been very fortunate to be a part of the team’s continued growth and success,” Gallagher said. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Kinesiology with a K-12 teaching certificate from Western Illinois University, where he also served as swim team captain during his Junior and Senior seasons, and upon graduation, assistant coach.