GREENWICH, Conn. -- Greenwich swimmer Jack Montesi will find himself in the deep end of the talent pool at next week’s U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska. It will certainly not be the last time the recent high school graduate takes on the best in the nation.
Montesi will compete in three events at the trials, the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and the 100-meter backstroke. Montesi trains at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford under coach Jamie Barone, a two-time competitor at the U.S. Trials.
“This is a chance for Jack to take it up a level in terms of competition,’’ Barone said. “It’s great chance for him to see what it’s like to swim against the best swimmers in the world and get some experience at that level. It’s going to set him up for the next four years so that he has a real legitimate shot to make the team in 2020.”
Montesi, who will compete next year at Notre Dame, has distinguished himself on the Connecticut stage. He owns five state records -- three in the backstroke, one in the butterly, and one in the freestyle. He won two individual championships in the State Open in March, and swam on two winning relays as the Cardinals won the state championship. He also set two high school state records this winter.
“Jack has a rare combination of a great work ethic, fortunate genetics and all-around athleticism that is fun to coach and watch, and results in good performances,’’ Barone said.
Montesi is the grandson of Norwalk native Marie Corridon Mortell, who won a gold medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics as a member of the 400 freestyle relay team. His parents, Margaret and John, swam for their college teams at Florida and Tufts. When Barone started working with Montesi in 2013, he created a timeline that predicted him to reach the Olympic Trials this year.
“He’s right on pace on where I thought he’d be,’’ Barone said. “It’s tough to say what his ceiling is. When you get to college, it’s a whole different ballgame. They have much more specialization at that level. Here we try to keep him pretty well-rounded. Hopefully, he has a lot of upside.”
Montesi will join one of the nation’s top recruiting classes at Notre Dame, which is coached by Matt Tallman. He officially signed with the Irish last fall.
“We actually started recruiting him as a backstroker,’’ Tallman said on the Notre Dame website. “He’s very versatile. He’s versatile enough that we’ll be able to move him around and he should play a big factor in our program moving forward.”
Montesi’s first event is Monday. He also races on Tuesday and Friday. Barone is hopeful that his young swimmer surpasses expectations and reaches the top 50 in at least one of his events, hopefully more. This year’s Olympic team might be a longshot for Montesi, but Barone wants him to keep his eyes on the prize four years hence.
“It’s important for him to get out there and see these two massive 50 meter pools and the best swimmers in the country,’’ Barone said. “My job is to try to keep him balanced between getting him excited and taking it as just another swim meet. I’ll be there to answer questions and guide him, but that’s all I can do at this point.”
Click here to find out more about the trials on the USA Swimming website.