Fox Chapel Swimmer Ready To Conquer Olympic Trials

Zoe Skirboll has spent much of her life swimming and training, all with one goal in mind.

Video Transcript

- Pittsburgh has long been considered a hotbed for producing athletic talent, but not necessarily in the sport of swimming. One local athlete is trying to change that. Rich Walsh has her story.

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 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.

JIM 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.

- Lane 2 from Racer X Aquatics, Zoe Skirboll.

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, it's your idol standing right next to you. And you're getting up in the block and you're like, oh, my gosh, I got to race them.

JIM 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.

JIM SKIRBOLL: I'm just the driver. I'm the driver. She gets on the bus, and she does the work. Work works. 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, I wouldn't be where I am today. And, you know, about my dad being my coach, you know, it's just everyone put together. It's just like a team, helping me get to where I am.