BILLINGS — When Ethan Harder and Peter Thompson take the starting blocks at U.S.A. Swimming’s Olympic Team Trials this week in Omaha, Nebraska, they’ll be nearly 840 miles away from the only place they were able to swim during parts of 2020 in the early spring waters of Lake Elmo.

In 2019, both Billings Aquatic Club swimmers swam qualifying times for the meet that’s the pinnacle of U.S. swimming and thought they would be competing in Omaha in the summer of 2020, but no one could have known then how long it would be or the challenges yet to overcome before they would get a chance to compete.

Ethan Harder

Billings swimmer Ethan Harder will compete in the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, this week.

Peter Thompson competes in the Big Sky State Games open-water swim races at Lake Elmo

Peter Thompson, shown here at the Big Sky State Games 1 Mile Swim Race in June 2019, has qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Ethan Harder competes in the Big Sky State Games open-water swim races at Lake Elmo

Ethan Harder, pictured after competing in the 2019 Big Sky State Games open water swim competition at Lake Elmo State Park, is entered in the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, this week.

Billings Aquatic Club Olympic Trials qualifiers

This banner hangs in the Rocky Mountain College pool designating Olympic Trials qualifiers from the Billings Aquatic Club. There are just two as of 2021.

Email Lindsay Rossmiller at lindsay.rossmiller@406mtsports.com or follow her on Twitter @LindsayRossmill.

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