Rumson teen Caroline Gmelich would like nothing better than to be a successor of her Fair Haven Olympian neighbor Connor Jaeger.
It's a goal she is striving to attain. And, by all accounts, she's on her way.
The 13-year-old swimmer now qualifies for Junior Nationals having swam the third fastest 100-meter backstroke in the country for girls her age.
The Junior Nationals is a competitive distinction earned by Gmelich after qualifying for and swimming in the New Jersey Junior Olympics at the end of July and going on to swim in the competitive Eastern Zone competition, for which she broke records, including one for New Jersey that had been held since 2004, according to a release.
Gmelich swims with the Central Jersey Acquatic Club, where Jaeger got his start and they have coaches in common, though they never swam together.
She, in the different (backstroke) swim category specialty than Jaeger, qualified to compete in six individual events and three relays in the Eastern Zones Meet in Richmond, VA. The "Zones" swimmers are the fastest coaches' picks from all east coast states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, D.C..
Gmelich was seeded second in both the 200 and 100-meter backstroke category won first place in both events and breaking the Eastern Zone and state records, according to the release.
A recent Rumson Country Day School graduate, Gmelich is set to attend Trinity Hall, the new all girls high school, which was founded in part by her mother Victoria Gmelich, in September.
She says that she looks forward to swimming for Trinity Hall and sees the school becoming dominant in swimming in the years to come.