SAVANNAH -- Nicole Fye is quickly conquering the state of Georgia.
Next stop ... the Olympics?
"That's certainly a goal of hers," Flint River Rapids club team swim coach Jeff DeMott said of his 12-year-old prodigy, who added two more state titles to her growing trophy case over the weekend at the 2011 14 & Under Short Course Championships in Savannah. "That's kind of been the focus of her training. The next Olympic trials for the London Games in 2012 are coming up, but it's more likely she'll aim for (the 2016 Games) in Rio De Janeiro."
And if there's a swimmer from Southwest Georgia that just might have a shot at gold, it's likely Fye.
Fye, a Leesburg native and 6th-grader at Lee County Middle School, won the first event of the prestigious short course meet with a 35-second margin of victory in the 1,000-yard freestyle. Her time of 10:35.02 not only ranked her third in the nation, but it earned her 51st-place on the all-time Top 100 swims for 11-12 girls 100 freestyle in USA Swimming history.
Fye followed that with a win in the 500-yard freestyle, taking the lead at 200 meters and never looking back. Her time of 5:11.00 ranked her 11th in the nation.
Fye's other efforts included second-place finishes in the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, and 200 backstroke, third-place finishes in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke and a fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle. All of Fye's times and finishes were new team records.
But DeMott said what stood out the most about Fye's wins is that short-course swimming isn't even her niche.
Two summers ago in 2009, Fye dominated the 10 & Under Long Course Championships, winning state titles in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle events.
"Short course isn't even her forte, so right now she's well ahead of schedule (in terms of what she wants to accomplish in the sport)," DeMott said. "She just continues to challenge and push herself to train hard and reach new levels. And when I looked at her times compared to the next age level up (13-14), she would've scored enough points to at least be a finalist at that level in all the races she won at 11-12."
Fye will next swim at the Southern Zone Eastern Sectional Championships in Nashville, Tenn., on March 10-13.