Auburn native Ariana Kukors has been a sensation in the pool for over a decade, breaking records and competing with the best in the world in the 200 I-M. In the 2008 Olympic trials she missed the Beijing games by eight one hundredths of a second.
"I felt defeated in that moment" said Kukors, 2009 World Champion in the 200 IM.
Kukors' older sister Emily was also swimming at those trials and saw the race from the pool deck.
"The finish was so close and then I looked up and saw three. I knew in that moment that I had to be a big sister," said Emily.
It was the love and support from her family that got Ariana back up on the blocks.
"She called me right after and asked for me to pick her up so I did that and we both started crying. I told her that I believe in her and will always believe in her" said Pete Kukors, Ariana's father.
"I think that moment was when I said I'm not giving up. I'm a fighter and that when I declared myself a fighter," said Ariana.
She has spent the last four years chasing eight one hundredths of a second and in the process won the 2009 World Championship breaking the world record and earned a bronze at the 2012 World Championships.
Heading into these trials she is working on her final 50 meters.
"I flip at the 150 meter mark first but my hand doesn't get to the wall first," she said.
With just five weeks until the London trials, Ariana is trying to find that extra gear.
"Every single morning I wake up and see London 2012 on my vision board and I think what can I do in this moment with the tools that I have to get closer to that goal," she said.
A goal that was so close four years ago, yet felt so far away.
"I felt dread going into 2009 and I didn't know if I was ready to accomplish my dreams but I was trying to convince myself that I was ready and this time around I just feel at peace. It would mean so much to me to be able to stand up on the podium at the Olympics and get a medal but if it doesn't happen I know that I can move on and I know that there is more to life," said Ariana.
The US Olympic Swimming Trials are in Omaha, Nebraska from June 25 - July 2.