Susan Von der Lippe (Rapp) went to the 2004 Olympic trials as a loyal swimming fan and spectator. One would think that as a three-time Olympian (1980, 1984 and 1988) and a silver medalist in the 200 meter breaststroke at the 1984 Games she would be treated with more privileges than a standard spectator. Not so.
At the 2004 trials event, she was excited by all of the swimming action. She asked if she could go for a swim in the warm-up pool. Officials told her the warm-up pool was limited to competitors that had made Olympic Trials cuts and she was not allowed to swim in the warm-up area.
Not happy with a closed door, Susan decided she wanted a deck pass for the next Olympic trials event in 2008. At the 2004 trials event, she had been swimming with a Masters group in Loveland, Colorado and was only 2.5 seconds off of the time to make the trials cut.
In 2005, she made the 2008 Olympic Trials cut in the 100 meter breaststroke (with a time of 1:12.49) at the USA Swimming Western Region Long Course Championship event. Just a few weeks ago at the same swim meet, she qualified for trials in a second event - the 100-meter butterfly (1:02.37). With the fly performance at age 42, she becomes the oldest swimmer to ever qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in swimming.
Her goal for the upcoming trials? Swim a respectable time and, most importantly, get that deck pass.
Susan is only swimming three days per week, under the guidance of coach Scott Allen. Though she swims in the lane next to me at the Masters group, her talent doesn't seem to have passed to my lane, and specifically to me. Donned with all of my pool toys (fins and paddles) I still can't keep up with her.
That woman is fast.
In addition to being fast, Susan is a friendly and humble person. The kind of person you want to pull for, the kind you want to succeed.
Go Susan, go!!