Former Heritage High School swim star Danny Comforti qualified for three events in next year’s Olympic Trials during the recent U.S. National Swimming Championship at Stanford University.
Comforti, a recent graduate of Arizona State University and current member of the Brentwood SeaWolves, secured his spot in the 200-meter breaststroke (2 minutes, 17.59 seconds), 200-meter individual medley (2:2.72) and 100-meter butterfly (54.11). The required times are 2:17.89, 2:4.09 and 54.19 in the three events, respectively.
He still has about 10 months to qualify in other events and is aiming to make the cut in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke. He fell just 3/10ths of a second short of the needed time in the 50-meter freestyle, and 2/10ths of a second shy of the needed time in the 100-meter breaststroke.
“He’s kind of on a mission,” said Craig Carson, Comforti’s coach at Heritage and now again with the Brentwood SeaWolves. “His goal for this year was to make the Olympic Trial cut times. He’s accomplished some of that and feels he still has a chance to do it in those other two events.”
The Olympic Trials, scheduled for June 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska, will likely pit Comforti against about 40 swimmers in the preliminary rounds, with 16 swimmers qualifying for the semifinals and eight for the finals. Competitors must finish in the top two in most events to make the Olympic team.
“He’s right on that verge of cracking that top 16 (in the 200-meter individual medley) and getting an opportunity to maybe make the finals at the Olympic Trials,” Carson said.
For Comforti, his progression in the sport has been a natural rise in recent years. In the winter of his junior year of high school, he decided to focus solely on swimming, and he began attracting the attention of colleges during the second semester of his senior year, eventually settling on Arizona State.
There he continued to progress, and two of his top achievements were qualifying for the NCAA Championships his junior year as one of the nation’s 30 best Division I swimmers, and helping the once-struggling Sun Devils swim team rise to become the nation’s seventh best — also in his junior season.
Comforti has been perfecting his stroke and improving his physical and mental strength as a return member of the Brentwood SeaWolves after graduating from Arizona State earlier this year.
“I just work as hard as I can to put myself in the position to hit those goals that I have set out,” Comforti said, “and if I don’t, I get up and try again.”
Carson said Comforti is constantly learning and is intrinsically motivated to succeed.
“He started out just like a lot of other kids I worked with over the years,” Carson said. “He’s taken that and done probably the most with it of any kids I have worked with. It’s pretty exciting.”
Over the next several months, Carson said, the student-coach duo will continue pushing for those unmet 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke Olympic Trial qualifying times. Comforti also plans to compete in the US Open in Georgia, in December.
The 2020 United States Olympic Trials will run from June 21-28 at the CHI Health Center in Nebraska.