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Two Norfolk Academy alumni are one step from the 2024 Olympics — and that is hardly their only noteworthy highlight.

Callie Dickinson ’18 and Kayla Wilson ’22 are qualified for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, which are in June. Top performers there advance to the Olympics, which begin in July in Paris.

Wilson won two medals, including one gold, last October at the Pan American Games in Chile. That came after she helped Stanford University earn third place at the 2023 NCAA Championships. A sophomore, she already is a two-time All-American and a Pac-12 champion in the 800-meter free relay.

Dickinson recently finished swimming at the University of Georgia. She qualified for the NCAA Championships in all five of her seasons and earned six All-America honors. Last August, she reached the semifinals of the 100 and 200 butterfly at the World University Games. In October, she was named a finalist for the 2023 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which recognizes student-athletes who distinguish themselves in athletics, academics, and the community throughout their college careers.

Dickinson made the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll in all five seasons. Last year, she received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and the prestigious SEC Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. She finished at Georgia with a master’s degree in Comparative Biomedical Sciences and begins at LSU’s medical school later this year. Her goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Both swimmers are feverishly preparing for the Olympics. Dickinson is training in Georgia, in the pool sometimes more than five hours a day. She’s also working a part-time job in the medical field. Wilson practices 20 hours a week — the maximum amount the NCAA allows — while balancing a rigorous class schedule at one of America’s top academic colleges.

Kristen Kirkman coached both girls at NA. Both are naturally athletic, she said. What helped them improve is their work ethic, dedication, and openness to listening and making changes.

“They are both well deserving,” Kirkman said. “They bring a sense of pride to Norfolk Academy.”

Both credit NA with helping them reach this point. Specifically, they note the team atmosphere that Kirkman builds in the swim program.

“I credit NA with helping me love the sport more,” Wilson said.

Dickinson didn’t start swimming until she was about 6, relatively old in the world of Olympic contenders. She acknowledges she didn’t start making great gains in the sport until she was a few years in. Her path taught her a valuable lesson for younger student-athletes.

“Dream big, and never give up on your dreams,” she said. “You’re going to do your best when you’re happiest.”

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 edition of Academy Magazine. 

Callie Dickinson '18 

Callie Dickinson '18 

Kayla Wilson '22

Kayla Wilson '22

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