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Olympic Hopeful Faces Her Biggest Challenge: Growing Up

When she gets in the water, Cassidy Bayer is one of the fastest swimmers in the United States. But it's going to take more than speed if she wants to make it to the Olympics.

For those rare athletes who make it all the way to the Olympics, the long road there might seem like it was built on a regimen of early-morning workouts, distant competitions and never-ending coaching sessions.

But the route to the Olympics requires more than lifting weights and practicing time trials. That’s because elite athletes need to develop both their physical bodies, and their minds.

Enter Cassidy Bayer, a 16 year-old swimming phenom from Northern Virginia with a huge personality. Olympic swimmer Ryan Locthe practiced with Bayer at the Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs.

Recalling her enthusiasm and humor, Locthe said, “There was not one dull moment in practice when I was swimming with her.”

Bayer is very fast. For years, she’s been breaking records in her race, the 200-meter butterfly. A member of the U.S. National Team, Bayer is currently the fourth-fastest American woman in the 200 Fly, and there’s no doubt that she has all of the building blocks to make it to the Olympic team, if not in 2016, then in 2020.