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Local Olympic hopeful expresses concerns over Zika virus

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – As if training wasn’t hard enough, Olympic hopefuls now need to worry about Zika virus.

“Right now I think we’re just kind of taking it day by day,” said Lindsay Vrooman, a potential swimmer for Team USA. “When we get there we’ll kind of see and talk about what we have to do to stay safe.”

Opening ceremonies in Rio are scheduled for Aug. 5. The athletes have been training nearly their entire lives.

“It’s been an incredible journey. I know I’ve worked incredibly hard,” said the 24 year old.  “It’s been about 15 years since I started swimming, so I’ve been working towards this a very long time.”

The Indiana University graduate is the 11th fastest in the world in the freestyle. Her Olympic chances were going to come this summer, but the Zika virus may take a bite out of her dream.

“I’m basically trying to really focus on my training and not think about the issues down there so much. It’s definitely a little nerve-racking,” she said.

IU stakes a claim to 100 Olympians. The university’s swimming coach says there could be three or four swimmers from the school on this year’s Team USA.

“I wouldn’t think it (Zika virus) would hold anyone back from competing and really doing it at a high level at the Olympics,” said Mike Westphal, an associate head coach for IU Swimming.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo said she wouldn’t go to Rio if she had to make the decision now.

Vrooman is torn.

“Gosh, I really don’t know, I think deep down I would risk it, and still go just because it’s the Olympics,” she said.

The Indiana Department of Health said they’ll be monitoring the games.

“The Olympics are something that we have our eye on as something that could potentially be an event that we would have large numbers of travelers going from the United States and coming back potentially carrying Zika virus or other mosquito borne infections,” said Dr. Jen Brown.

But for Vrooman, she says she’ll continue with her three-a-day workouts, and do the best she can.

“I’m very hopeful for the future if I do qualify for the team that they’ll have it relatively under control,” she said.

Olympics swimming trials are scheduled for the end of June in Omaha, NE.