Alicia Mathieu, of Marlborough, hopes to represent the U.S. in the London Olympics this July.
Alicia Mathieu has a chance to swim her way to the Olympics this week.
The 20-year-old from Marlborough native is hoping to represent the USA in the women's 800m freestyle event.
The RHAM graduate now swims for the University of Florida, but she first became a standout in the pool at the Minnechaug Swim Club in Glastonbury.
"She was really much faster than most of the kids in our program," said Sue Husta, Mathieu's former coach at the swim club.
For those who swam alongside Mathieu at Minnechaug - or at least on the same team - the swimmer always led by example.
"She was just a great role model in the pool and she was really great to watch and she was just really good," said Nick Porter.
Corey Hedges, who has known the the Olympic hopeful since the age of 8, said even at that age, Mathieu dominated in the water.
"Even when she was little she was beating all the boys. Her records are faster than theirs. She's always been on top really," Hedges said.
Knowing a swimmer vying for a spot in the Olympics is began at Minnechaug is something inspiring, according to Husta.
"It's a wonderful thing to give the kids incentive saying Alicia started here and you never know, we could have some other Olympic hopefuls that start here."
Mathieu competed in the 400-meter freestyle event Tuesday afternoon and beat her personal best by a full second, but did not place in the top two to qualify for the Olympics. She will race again on Saturday in the 800-meter event.