Franklin grad Chapman excited to compete at Olympic swim trials

For most competitive swimmers, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials is a pipe dream. For a very select few, it’s an achievable bucket list item. For an even more select few, it’s the last hurdle on the way to the ultimate dream — the Olympics themselves.

Kabria Chapman falls in that middle group — sort of.

The 2021 Franklin graduate is still swimming competitively, with one more year of eligibility remaining at Indiana University. But she’s also got an eye toward the future; Chapman is completing her undergraduate degree in accounting this summer, and she was excited to land a summer internship with Crowe, an auditing firm in Carmel.

That internship was supposed to have started last week — but something came up. Chapman swam the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:10.11 at the Ohio State Fall Invitational last October, sliding in under the trials qualifying standard of 1:10.29.

Suddenly, she had a scheduling conflict.

“I was calling my dad the week before and I was like, ‘Yeah, with this internship this summer, it’ll be just my luck that I get my trials cut,’” Chapman recalled. “So he walked up to me after and he’s like, ‘Am I supposed to be excited for you?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess it’s pretty cool.’”

Even though it means the internship will have to wait — Chapman will now start at Crowe on June 24 — making the trials is indeed pretty cool. The lone Johnson County swimmer to qualify, she’ll compete in the 100 breast preliminaries on Sunday morning.

She doesn’t expect to get a second swim, but it doesn’t matter.

“I’m a realistic person, so I’m not trying to qualify for the Olympics,” Chapman said. “I swim next to people (at IU) that are going to qualify for the Olympics, and I’m super excited to watch them do that, but I’m excited that I get to go, that I get to be with my friends. And especially in Indy, Lucas Oil, somewhere I’m comfortable. It’s going to be so cool to see the things they’ve done to the pool. I’ve been to a trials before to watch, so being able to actually swim in one and just experience it, I’m just nothing but excited for it.”

With no expectations of advancing past the prelims, Chapman isn’t putting any pressure on herself heading into the meet; if she can swim a best time, that’d be great, but it’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t. The trials are the last long course meet she’ll ever swim in, and she’s just planning to enjoy the moment.

No pressure to swim a certain time for a cut — she’s already gotten that. No worries about whether she’ll score points for her team; at this meet, Chapman is a solo artist without a worry in the world.

Even during this past collegiate season, though, Chapman was operating with that same hakuna matata mindset.

“I’ve kind of swam this whole year like that, and I think it’s part of the reason that I even got the trials cut in general,” she said. “Allowing myself to let go of the stress from swimming and let go of the pressure … if I have a really bad practice, then oh well; nobody’s going to remember it tomorrow and I’m not going to remember it tomorrow either. So allowing that has just been so freeing, and I think it’s honestly led me to swim faster.”

Chapman was already pretty fast. She was a four-time state medalist in the 100-yard breaststroke in high school, peaking with a runner-up finish as a junior in 2020, and helped the Grizzly Cubs to a state runner-up team finish in 2019 behind perennial champion Carmel. This past winter, she helped the Hoosiers claim their first Big Ten Conference championship in five years.

She’s excited to be able to be at Lucas Oil Stadium to watch some of her IU teammates, including former breaststroke gold medalist Lilly King, secure their spots on Team USA over the next week or so.

“The last Olympic trials, because it got pushed back a year, I was already swimming here a little bit, so knowing some of the people and being able to watch them — even I had only known them a month, and it was just so exciting to watch it,” Chapman said. “So being able to swim with these people for the past three and a half years, it’s like, wow — I cannot wait to watch them do that and experience that with them. Because you see the work that they put in, and you do it with them.”

Chapman feels that it’s only right to have the trials in Indiana because of the state’s overall passion for swimming, .

“Indiana’s just such a swimming state,” she said. “Meeting other people from other states and they’re like, ‘You did what for (high) school swimming?’ And I was like, oh yeah, everyone did school swimming. It was a huge thing. The only time you will ever see the (IU Natatorium) packed and with that much energy — I can still say to this day, other than this year’s Big Ten Conference meet, that Indiana swimming, high school state, is still one of the best meets ever.”

This meet, though, might rival it — especially since Chapman will be able to just soak it all up, stress-free.

“It’s kind of just me being able to enjoy the sport and get what I want out of it and just have a good time,” she said. “That’s what the sport is about. … Even in high school, I was very serious about it, and it’s been nice this year just to be able to take a step back as it comes to a close. This is my last long course meet, and I’m just so excited that I’m going to be able to just enjoy it.”

A once-in-a-lifetime moment. Well worth putting the real world on hold for.


U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium

When: Today through June 23; preliminaries are at 11 a.m. each day with finals at 8 p.m.

Tickets: Available at

TV: All finals sessions will air live on NBC; preliminaries will be streamed live on Peacock and tape-delayed on USA Network