Senior Gigi Johnson participates in U.S Olympic Swimming trials

This summer, senior Gigi Johnson competed in the 2021 U.S swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. The trials were supposed to occur in June 2020 but got pushed back to summer 2021 due to COVID-19. The trials were split into two separate waves based on time with Johnson competing in the first and faster group. Wave I, in which Johnson competed, was held from June 4-7 while Wave II occurred from June 13-20. Johnson raced in the 100m butterfly, 200m breastroke, and 200m individual medley. She finished third in the A final 100m fly with a time of 1:00.09 and won the B final of the 200 IM with a time of 2:16.37. 

Each day of the trials, Johnson had a specific routine before competing. After eating breakfast by the pool, Johnson would warm up with heart-rate work and pacing followed by lunch and a nap.

“Nap time is the most important time of day for me as an athlete!” said Johnson. 

After waking up, she would return to the pool to either watch the finals or warm up for some quick times.

Johnson has many superstitions and good-luck rituals she completes before competitions.

 “I am a very superstitious person,” said Johnson. “I have a pair of lucky socks I bring to every meet as well as the same pillow, stuffed corgi, and blanket. Also, the night before I race I have to eat some kind of shrimp to swim fast at the meet. Nine times out of ten I have the shrimp alfredo from Olive Garden.”

Johnson also has a special stretching routine she does before every race, and, for high level competition, she gets her nails done to match her racing suit. 

In addition to competing at one of the largest meets in the United States this summer, Johnson recently announced her verbal commitment to continue her academic and athletic career at Stanford University.

“Growing up as a Westminster student, you’re constantly in a competitive environment academically, which has pushed me to succeed in the classroom as well as the pool,” said Johnson. “Stanford stood out among all of the schools I communicated with because of their unparalleled balance between academics and athletics, with both holding equal importance.” 

In addition to Stanford’s academic and athletic excellence, the head coach of their swim team, Greg Meehan, holds the position of head coach for the Women’s Olympic Swim Team, which further attracted Gigi to the school.

“The opportunities and doors Stanford opens for my future in swimming played a huge role in my decision,” said Johnson. 

Although the one year delay of the trials gave athletes more time to train and become stronger and faster, the change still posed obstacles for those looking forward to and relentlessly preparing for this worldwide event.

“Preparing for years and finally achieving your goal of qualifying for Olympic Trials only to have it rescheduled definitely takes a toll on an athlete, especially as a high schooler,” said Johnson. “There were many obstacles I had to overcome, like finding pools that were not shut down. I ended up swimming in my friend’s 17-meter backyard pool, but the possibility of the meet being cancelled made it even more difficult to find the motivation to train.”


This year Johnson’s teammates voted her as one of the captains of the Westminster swim team, where she has set five school records, a state record in the medley relay, and achieved distinction as the MVP and high point scorer all three years of her high school career.

“Gigi is a complete athlete,” said Westminster varsity swim coach Sharon Loughran. “She has been Georgia state swimmer of the year for the past three years. Also, she has never lost a state championship race, individual, or relay. Her spirit is contagious and she brings everyone up around her. She encourages and cheers on teammates while maintaining a high level of focus and performance.” 

Gigi’s teammates echoed her coach’s praise.

“Gigi is an amazing teammate!” said senior Annie Jardina. “She is always super encouraging and works really hard, which pushes everyone else to work hard as well and be the best they can be.”

Johnson feels excited for what the 2021 Westminster swim season will bring, and hopes to bring home one final state championship

“My favorite part of being a member of the Westminster swim team is being a part of something bigger than myself,” said Johnson. “The team culture is unmatched and the constant support we have between each other while doing something we love creates such a tight knit team.” 

After Johnson’s action-packed summer, those around her feel joyful about her achievements as a student and swimmer and look forward to more to come.

“My reaction to Gigi’s signing and trial participation is one of pride and happiness as she continues to grow and reach her goals,” said Loughran.