Olympia alum competes in Olympic trials

Riki Bonnema, an NC State senior, concluded her college swimming career by competing in the 2016 Canadian Olympic Trials.

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  • | 1:02 p.m. April 15, 2016
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Olympia High alumna and North Carolina State University senior Riki Bonnema still has another semester of her undergraduate career to go, but the talented swimmer has wrapped up her run with the NC State swimming program.

A marine ecology major, Bonnema swims events ranging from the 50- and 100-meter freestyles to the 100-meter butterfly, medleys and relays. But perhaps one of the most notable achievements of her career to date is having competed in the 2016 Canadian Olympic Trials the week of April 5.

Bonnema, whose mother is Canadian, decided to compete in the Canadian Olympic Trials because she was ranked third in the 50-meter freestyle there. The United States and Canada each take their top two competitors, so she felt she had a better shot at an Olympic run there. 

“I think it’s the most exciting; it’s short and a speed race rather than endurance,” Bonnema said of the 50 freestyle event. “Anything can happen. Everything has to be perfect from start to finish, and it’s more technical.”

She finished fifth in the 50 freestyle at the trials with a mark of 25.63 and will not be in the Olympics this summer. 

But, as a junior, she posted the school record in the 50 freestyle at the ACC Championships to finish second overall, and she led her team with All-American honors in three events at the NCAA championships. As a current senior, she holds the ACC meet and conference records in the 50 freestyle and helped lead her team to a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championship.

“It (swimming) gave me a lot of benefits as far as time management and training hard every day,” Bonnema said. “Getting ready for what I want to do with my life, (NC State) gave me lots of opportunities and a good education.”

And although swimming has been an integral part of Bonnema’s life, she has learned that giving it her all is important, but so is savoring every moment and having fun with it.

“I’ve realized that swimming isn’t everything, so in order to get the most out of it I try to enjoy everything and not worry if something’s wrong,” she said.


Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected]


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