FOX CHAPEL, Pa. (KDKA) — Zoe Skirboll has spent much of her life swimming and training, all with one goal in mind.
“I’ve had my eyes on the Olympics since I was 8 years old,” Skirboll said. “But I’ve been swimming since I was 6, so it’s always been a big goal.”READ MORE: Man Accused Of Killing 2 Women In Pa. Now Charged With Murder Of Pregnant Woman In Michigan Who Disappeared
The 16-year-old Fox Chapel High School student 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 his daughter was something special at an early age.
“She broke two national records when she was 10. Then she broke three more when she was 11 and 12,” said Jim. “She has five national age-group records. So she’s been on that path to success.”
To continue that success, Zoe will need to race against much older and experienced swimmers, something she knows won’t be easy.
“It’s pretty scary,” Zoe said. “It’s intimidating going against Olympians. You look right next to you and it’s your idol standing right next to you. And you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to race them.’”READ MORE: Police Chase Ends On Route 28 After Shooting And Carjacking In Larimer
“When she puts her mind to it, there is really nothing that can stop her,” said Jim. “But she has to have the confidence to do it. She has to believe in herself.”
As father and coach, Jim has played a huge role in getting Zoe to where she is today. But he sees his role a bit differently.
“I’m just the driver,” said Jim. “She gets on the bus, she does the work. Work works, that’s a saying we have around here. She has the talent, but she also works very hard.”
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.MORE NEWS: Sewickley Academy Has Suddenly Become A Hotbed Of Division
“It’s the best thing ever,” said Zoe. “Without my family and friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”