Brenna Smith can pinpoint exactly when she caught swimming fever.
As she watched Olympic gold medalist and Granbury native Dana Vollmer slice through the water, she knew she wanted to do that, too.
Vollmer found great swimming success at a young age. At age 12, she was the youngest swimmer competing at the 2000 US Olympic Trials. She won Olympic gold in 2004 and is pursuing her career as a pro swimmer.
Brenna, 14, also is finding her share of success at a young age despite swimming seriously for only two-and-a-half years. Late last month she won the 100-meter breaststroke at the North Texas Swimming BB Longcourse Championships in Rockwall. She's already got her eye on the Olympics and following the wet footsteps of her idol, Vollmer.
North Texas Swimming is affiliated with USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport in the United States and the gateway to the Olympics. It promotes the sport of swimming through clubs, events and education.
“I love the whole adrenaline rush," Brenna said of swimming competition. "I love everything about it — the friends, the coaches, the support you get."
Because Glen Rose doesn't have a pool where Brenna can train, she goes to Granbury and Fort Worth. She practices with the Granbury Seals swim team at the Dana Vollmer Municipal Pool.
Brenna already is training with some of the country's most respected coaches. She trains with Janet Steenberge, the team's original organizer and head coach since its start, and with Ron Forrest, head coach of the Fort Worth Area Swim Team, or FAST. Steenberge also is a year-round coach with FAST. Dana Vollmer's brother, Nick, also is a Seals coach.
Brenna travels to Fort Worth to swim five days a week. Right now she's on hiatus between the so-called longcourse, or 50-meter, and shortcourse, or 25-meter, competitions. She swims a variety of styles, including the backstroke and butterfly, but the breaststroke is her specialty.
Helping Brenna attain her goal of making it to the Olympics someday involves her entire family — her parents, Carl and Julie, and sister, Audrey, who's 9 and doesn't swim competitively, but runs track and is a creative writer. The Smiths cheer Brenna on at her meets and support her, but don't push her, Carl said.
"The whole family has to make sacrifices and be dedicated," Carl added "We plan our weeks around her, even the way we shop for groceries had to change. The coaches want her to eat eight times a day."
That means fruits, vegetables and protein. Soft drinks are taboo because of the carbonation, sugar and empty calories.
Brenna's typical day includes at least four hours of training.. She'll swim in Granbury from 6 to 8 a.m., go to school, then head to Fort Worth to swim from 6 to 8 p.m. Brenna will be a freshman at Glen Rose High School this semester.
Carl said he admires his daughter's tenacity and focus.
“When she steps on the starting block, it's all business,” he said.
Brenna hopes to qualify for the sectionals competition next year and then go to nationals. She is aiming for a college scholarship at Berkeley, Calif., where Vollmer is training for her pro career.
"It will all pay off in the end," Carl said. "I really feel she has the drive and determination. She's constantly getting faster and faster. I can really see she has a love for the sport."
And does she think she'll make it to the Olympics?
Brenna said simply with a smile, "Yes."