Mississippi swimmer competes today for spot on Olympics team

Published 7:06 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

The 2024 Summer Olympics will take place in Paris with thousands of world-class athletes set to descend upon the City of Light. 

The opening ceremony is a little over a month away on July 26, and an Oxford native hopes of joining world-renowned Olympians. 

Julia Dennis, a graduate of Oxford High School, is a member of the Louisville Cardinals swimming team. She will compete this Saturday, June 22  in the 50-free following her participation in the 100-free on Tuesday at the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. 

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During her time as a Charger, Dennis was a three-time state champion, winning the 50 freestyle twice and the 500 freestyle once. 

“There’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices,” said Michael Dennis, Julia’s father.

Dennis received honorable mentions for All-American honors at Louisville competing in the 50 free and All-American honors in the 200 free relay as she finished second with a 21.39 time for her portion of the relay. The combined 1:25.73 time is the second-fastest time in school history.

“It’s been a unique journey,” Julia Dennis said. “It’s a big jump from high school to college. In 2021, I just missed getting here. Now, I’m in college and I’m where I want to be.” 

Dennis noted that her support system throughout the transition has been helpful in adapting to the competition. 

“I’m lucky to have great coaches and friends that have been in my shoes to help guide me,” Dennis said. 

If Dennis can qualify, she will join Olympic great Katie Ledecky. Ledecky has won seven Olympic gold medals and 21 world championship gold medals, the most ever for a female swimmer. 

“I’ve seen her compete in other competitions. She’s just so dominant, it’s been cool to watch her compete.”

Dennis’ upcoming trial will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the qualifying heats can be viewed at 5:30 p.m. on Peacock. The Finals of the 50 free are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.