Dozens of people cheered at a viewing party in Santa Maria Thursday night as hometown favorite Josh Prenot broke an American record for the 200 meter breaststroke. Had his time been just a fraction of a second faster, he would have broken a world record.
The 22-year-old's strong finish at the Olympic qualifying trials in Omaha assures him a spot on the Olympic team this August in Rio de Janeiro.
Santa Maria Swim Club General Manager and Head Coach Michael Ashmore worked with Prenot almost daily for nearly a decade. He was at the Omaha trials, which he told KCBX on Friday, still feels like a dream.
"I still replay that race in my head over and over," said Ashmore. "I think people who don't understand swimming, don't understand what kind of an upset that was."
Ashmore said the media has every reason to love Prenot, who up until this point has always been an underdog.
The swimmer currently goes to UC Berkeley, but grew up in Orcutt after moving to the Central Coast from Colorado.