Senior Andrew Rutherfurd is going to the Olympics as a member of the Bolivian Olympic swimming team. He will compete in the 100-yard freestyle against the best in the world this month in London.
“I recently got that rush and that feeling of wanting to be there,” Rutherfurd said. “I am officially invited and extremely excited to go and experience it all.”
Rutherfurd, who is most recently from Alpharetta, Ga. is able to swim for the Bolivian team because of his dual citizenship for both the United States and Bolivia. His mother is originally from Bolivia and so growing up, she wanted to take the family down there as much as possible.
“We went there every other summer so that we could understand the culture and the language,” Rutherfurd said. “Then one summer, my dad started his own business down there and we stayed there and didn’t come back.”
He began swimming when he was five years old in local neighborhood competitions. His parents soon moved him to year round swimming when they saw how well he was doing. When he was nine, the family moved to Cochabamba, Bolivia and there he continued swimming.
Even though he swam competitively in Bolivia, he would come back to Georgia during the summers to train and compete. One summer, the family he was staying with told him to stay with them so he could compete against better competition and get a better education. After almost half a year of trying, he convinced his mom to let him stay in Georgia and he moved back the next summer .
To make the Olympic swimming team, each country has their own method for the athletes to qualify. For Bolivia, the swimmers need to qualify for the World Championships. That took place last year in China. At Worlds, the swimmer who performed the best makes the Olympic team.
Rutherfurd is excited to go and hopes he can soak up all the excitement and competition while he is there.
“I want time to go as slow as it can,” Rutherfurd said. “There isn’t a Super Bowl or anything like that for swimmers, so the Olympics is the big event for us and I want to just enjoy every moment that I can.”
He will arrive in London on July 21, and until then will be training and putting all his efforts into doing well there. The competition will be tough and he wants to do the best he can do personally.
“What keeps me focused and training hard is beating my own personal goals I have set and just being a part of the Olympics.”