EWA BEACH (KHNL) -- A 17-year-old Punahou High School junior is preparing for what could be the biggest and most important event in her nine years in competitive swimming -- representing the Republic of the Philippines at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Christel Simms has broken 54 individual Hawaii State records since she was nine years old and caught the attention of many national and international swimming organizations.
She passed the Olympic qualifying standard for the 100-meter freestyle swimming event at 57.17 seconds last August at the USA Junior National Swimming Championship in Indianapolis.
Although USA Swimming placed Simms as its potential entry to represent the United States for the 2012 London Games, Simms chose to experience this quadrennial event earlier.
"I was 15 years old when I decided I wanted to someday compete in the Olympics," said Simms. "From the point, I made it my ultimate dream goal and I'm just so excited I've accomplished that."
Simms joins a team of four male swimmers, all from the U.S., as the first female to represent the Republic of the Philippines in Beijing in the sport of swimming.