By Tony Burns
El Dorado native Izzy Gati had another milestone moment in her swimming career last week when she competed in the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials in Irvine, California. Gati, the daughter of El Dorado’s Dr. Kenneth and Daion Gati, qualified for the nationals in four events.
“Yes, this was my first Summer Nationals. I have been to Winter Nationals the past two years, but this Summer Nationals was the biggest event of my career,” said Gati. “There were some nerves but I try to channel my nerves into adrenaline. I do not think they impacted my performance. I think nerves can be a good thing if you use them in the right way to help with races.”
Gati, who swam for the Nation’s Capitol Swim Club in Washington D.C., had times of 2:14.56 in the 200-meter butterfly, 28.74 in the 50 butterfly, 1:01.47 in the 100 butterfly and 2:21.65 in the 200 individual medley.
Competing against the top swimmers in the world has been Gati’s goal since she was a freshman at El Dorado. At that time, she pointed to the 2020 Olympic Games. She hasn’t reached that lofty goal, yet, but she has lined up against Olympians on a fairly regular basis.
“I honestly sometimes forget that I compete against Olympians,” Gati said. “I think it is important to focus on myself and my own races and not worry about others around me. I still feel like I have a ways to go to truly feel like I am at the same level as the Olympians and professional swimmers.
“The 2020 Olympics is still a goal. The trial cuts come out this fall and I will try to get my cuts for the meet. If I continue my training and have trust in myself, it is a reasonable goal for me. It is hard to make the Olympic team since they only take two swimmers per event. My goal for right now is just to make Olympic Trials and then trust in my training and coaches to get me to the next level.”
Competing for the Lady Wildcats as a ninth grader, Gati won the Arkansas High School 6A-7A state championship in the 100 butterfly. She moved to Virginia and enrolled at the Madeira School for her last three years.
Gati signed to swim at Kentucky and enrolled in Lexington this summer, taking two courses, a history and communications class. She plans on majoring in Kinesiology in the fall.
Jokingly, Gati was asked, if her Olympic dreams do come true, where would she list as her hometown?
“My experience at Madeira was great. It was an amazing three years of my life and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go to school there,” she said. “I still consider El Dorado my hometown and always will.”