Rolling Meadows High School swimmer, Vera Conic, just wrapped up her sophomore year but she’s not done yet. She’s hard at work training for the Olympic trials, where she qualified in two events: the 100 meter and 200 meter backstroke. The trials take place June 15-23 in Indianapolis, with the top two finishers in each event advance to the Olympic Games in July in Paris.

Vera Conic stands on the medal podium after qualifying in the 100 meter backstroke.

“It’s been something I’ve thought about daily for months and months and months,” Conic says.

When SuburbTalk last caught up with Vera, she had just won the IHSA state title in the girls’ 100-yard backstroke — as a freshman — and was the first state champion in girls’ swimming in Rolling Meadows High School history. Her stated goal then: “to make the cut for the Olympic trials in 2024 in Indy.”

Rolling Meadows Head Coach Monika Chiappetta has been coaching boys’ and girls’ swimming for 25 years, but she’s never had a swimmer like Vera.

“I believe she broke three records at her first high school swim meet, which is impressive because some of those record are 40 years old,” Chiappetta says. “She came in like gangbusters and everyone knew her immediately.”

Vera works out with her high school team in the fall and the rest of the year she works with Coaches Tony Gallagher and Dustin Thompson with the Palatine Park District Tiger Sharks. She credits their training regimen, along with Chiappetta and her high school teammates, with helping her succeed.

“The girls that I swim with in the fall have been super kind to me all swim season and school year,” Vera says. “They all motivate me and we help each other become the best we can be.”

Vera with Rolling Meadows Coach Monika Chiappetta

Vera also credits her parents. As immigrants from Serbia, they have set an example of hard work and determination that have inspired their daughter.

“My family and coaches have made the biggest impact on my swimming success,” Vera says. “I also think that the plans I make with my coach and being disciplined in following those plans, even when I know it will be hard, has definitely been a reason I how I could get the trials cut.”

Vera qualified for the trials last month at the TYR 18 & Under Spring Cup in Elkhart, IN. The Olympic trials will take her to an even bigger stage, with the events being held in a temporary pool inside Lucas Oil Stadium, which can hold 70,000 fans.

What would it be like to make the Olympics?

“I mean that would be life changing,” Vera says. “It’s added pressure but if I work toward these things, I know I’m capable of doing it.”

In the meantime, her teammates and coaches from Rolling Meadows High School and the Palatine Tiger Sharks are thrilled to cheer her on.

the 2023 USA Swimming National Select Camp, held at the US Olympic and
Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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