Water wizards; Olympic competition is their goal.
Two local girls have Olympic dreams of swimming for far-away countries.
Dorian McMenemy, 14, of Northboro, is working to earn a spot on the Olympic swimming team of the Dominican Republic, where her mother was born; AnaMaria Castellanos, 15, of Holden, wants to swim for her native country, Honduras.
The two girls met at a swimming pool at the Worcester Jewish Community Center. Despite their differing allegiances, they are in the same swim club and have spent the summer traveling the world competing, each hoping to gain a spot on an Olympic team. They train in Worcester, although their swim club, the Bluefish, is based in North Attleboro.
Both girls competed for their countries' teams in Puerto Rico in July. Shortly thereafter, they competed at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China, described as the biggest international competition of the year, and regarded as the best indicator of success at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
AnaMaria has been swimming since she was 7. Born in Honduras, she is the daughter of two former Olympians - her parents, Claudia and Plutarco Castellanos were on the Honduras swim team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Admittedly, she didn't like swimming at first. But the more she competed, the more she learned to love it.
She has been a member of the Honduras swim team for the past two years, and as she prepares for the Pan American Games in October, AnaMaria is in first place on her team. If she remains there, she could be poised to be on the 2012 Olympic team.
Her specialty is the breaststroke, and she excels in the individual medley.
"I keep trying to make better times in my competitions," AnaMaria said. "The competition is what keeps me going. When I'm swimming, it's just me competing against the clock."
This year, AnaMaria also competed in San Pedro, Honduras.
AnaMaria has a 2-year-old brother, Federico, and a 16-year-old brother, Pauparco.
AnaMaria met Dorian last year as they trained under the same coach, Mike Ross. Mr. Ross recently relocated to Atlanta, and both girls are trying to find a new coach.
Dorian has been swimming since she was 7, and her talents as a swimmer were quickly identified.
"I just loved swimming," said Dorian, who has been swimming for half her life. "When my parents would ask me to do something, I'd rather be swimming."
Dorian swims competitively for most of the year. Dorian's specialty is the 100-meter and 50-meter butterfly.
Coach Ross suggested Dorian join the Dominican Republic team. Dorian's mom, Luisa McMenemy,
said she and her husband, Ron, encouraged Dorian's swimming to keep her active.
"I was excited because I could swim against other Olympic swimmers," said the 14-year-old, who will be a freshman at Algonquin Regional High School this year.
"As her mother, I always knew she had talent, but I never expected this," Mrs. McMenemy said. "We're very proud of her."
In Puerto Rico, Dorian broke competition and team records for the butterfly. It was because of her performance in Puerto Rico, that she was recommended to go on to Shanghai, Mrs. McMenemy said.
"I was very excited to be there (in China). When I saw the pool, I was amazed at how big it and the stadium was," Dorian said. "I was very nervous before the race. I came to the water, and there were all these lights. It was a good experience because when I was swimming in my races, I knew I was competing against the best."
Dorian practices at least two hours a day, five days a week, and then for a longer period of time on either day of the weekend. When she is in the water, she is "in the zone" - able to tune out the surrounding environment, and focus on her stroke.
"My friends can't believe how good I am, but I've been so busy I don't see them a lot and I miss them," Dorian said, adding that she has been hanging out with her friends for the past few weeks before school - and practice - starts again.
Dorian is now focused on improving her times in the hopes of making the Dominican Republic Olympic swim team in 2012.
"I truly believe if she doesn't make it this year, she will be ready in four years," Mrs. McMenemy said.
Dorian lives in Northboro with her parents, and three sisters, Rachel, 10, who also swims for the Bluefish; Katia, 6; and Lena, who is just a week old, born last Sunday.
CUTLINE: (1) AnaMaria Castellanos, 15, left, and Dorian McMenemy,14, practice at the JCC indoor pool for international swim competition. (2) AnaMaria Castellanos, 15, and Dorian McMenemy, 14, show their country affiliations on their bathing caps.
PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/CHRISTINE PETERSON