A Family's Olympic Dream: Zoe Skirboll

Zoe Skirboll is an Olympic hopeful and hoping to make the U.S. National Team as a swimmer and with her father Jim helping her, she's well on her way.

Video Transcript

RICH WALSH: "Citius, altius, fortius." It's the motto of the Olympic Games.

DAISY JADE: It means "faster, stronger, higher." And since she was six years old, this 412er from Fox Chapel has worked relentlessly to get to the top of the podium.

RICH WALSH: Zoe Skirboll has spent much of her life doing this. Day after day of swimming, training, all with one goal in mind.

ZOE SKIRBOLL: I had probably my eyes like on the Olympics since I was, like, eight years old. But I've been swimming since I was like six, so it's always been like a big goal, yeah.

RICH WALSH: At just 16 years old, this Fox Chapel native has already locked up a spot in the Olympic trials this June, and she's hard at work under the watchful eye of her father Jim, who knew Zoe was something special at a very early age.

JOE SKIRBOLL: She broke two national records when she was 10, and then she broke three more when she was 11 and 12. So she has five national age group records. So she's on the path to that, you know, success.

RICH WALSH: To continue that success, Zoe will need to race against much older and experienced swimmers, something she knows won't be easy.

ZOE SKIRBOLL: It's pretty scary. It's intimidating, you know, going against, like, Olympians. Like, you look next to you and it's like your idol standing right next to you. And you're getting up in the block, and you're like, oh my gosh, I gotta race them.

JOE SKIRBOLL: When she puts her mind to it, there's really nothing that can stop her. But she's got to have the confidence to do it. You know, she's got to believe in herself.

RICH WALSH: As father/coach, Jim Skirboll has played a huge role in getting Zoe to where she is today. But he sees his role a bit differently.

JOE SKIRBOLL: I'm just the driver. You know, I'm the driver. She gets on the bus and she does the work. "Work works." You know, that's the saying that we like to have here. And she has a talent, but she also works hard.

RICH WALSH: That family dynamic seems to have Zoe in a good place, mentally and physically, as she's on the verge of achieving a lifelong dream.

ZOE SKIRBOLL: It's the best thing ever. I mean, without my family and without my friends, like, I wouldn't be where I am today. And you know, without my dad being my coach, you know, it's just everyone put together, it's just like a team. You know, how can we get to where I am?