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McIntyre swims toward Olympics
"An Oak Harbor Middle School eighth grader could put Oak Harbor on the Olympic-swimming map. In only two years of competitive swimming, Melissa Missy McIntyre, 12, has rearranged the North Whidbey Aquatic Club and Pacific Northwest Swimming record books.I'm working hard to make it to the Olympic Trials before I graduate from high school, McIntyre said.McIntyre is in the top 16 in the United States for 11- and 12-year-old swimmers in the 100-yard breastroke and 200 yard individual medley. She currently owns 13 of 15 NWAC 11-12 year old long course (50-meter pool) records, 13 of 16 NWAC 11-12 year old short course (25-meter pool) records, and holds the PNS all-time record for 11-12 year olds in the 200 yard individual medley. I like winning, she said. I like going up there and just doing my best.In hopes of achieving her Olympic goal, McIntyre practices 11 times a week at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool. She wakes up early on weekdays for a 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. session and then returns at 2:30 p.m. for another hour and a half of practice. On Saturdays, she practices from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Swimming is my life, McIntyre said.McIntyre said Coach Bob Pease is a big part of her success. He's been able to, in a short period, really groom her into a great swimmer, Mike McIntyre said.Pease, who has coached swimming for 33 years, said he thinks Missy has a chance to make the Olympic team someday. She is a fierce competitor and hates to lose, Pease said.To get to the Olympics, swimmers must get fast enough times at regional competitions to make the senior nationals meet, and the senior nationals become the Olympic Trials in an Olympic year. The top two swimmers in an event at the Olympic trials make the team. I want to be somebody big, Missy said. I want to be up there with the best. McIntyre's parents are very supportive of her habit. Her mom Sharon learned how to be a turn and stroke official, which is a person who monitors the swimmers to make sure they're doing their strokes and turns correctly. Missy's dad Mike is especially proud that his daughter's grades have gone up a full letter since she started swimming competitively. I like swimming for North Whidbey because there are so many teams bigger than ours but our swimmers are some of the best, Missy said. We have a great coach and have lots of fun swimming and going to meets together."