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Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Candice Smith pauses during a training session for a photograph.

AMERICAN FORK — Staying active is important for American Fork High School senior student Candice Smith.

Not only does she serve on the high school senior class council, play cello in the orchestra and sing in the A Capella choir, she swam at the Conoco-Phillips Senior Nationals Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., last summer, qualifying for the Olympic trials this spring.

She swam the 200-meter backstroke. Smith competes in Omaha in June for a spot on the Women's Olympic Swim Team. If she makes the team she's going to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing in August.

"I feel lazy if I'm not doing something. When I lay down at night I feel like I've done something," she said. "I appreciate sleep."

Smith practices three hours a day after school at the American Fork Fitness Center pool, then every Monday, Wednesday and Friday she rises early for swim practice an hour and a half before school.

"There's not a whole lot of down time at our house," Shauna Smith said.

Candice Smith qualified for the Olympic trials after swimming the 200 meter backstroke in 2 minutes 17.79 seconds, just a shade under the 2:17:99 qualifying time. Now she wants to get faster to become more competitive.

"Just cutting off fractions of a second is a big jump," her mother, high school orchestra instructor Shauna Smith said.

Candice Smith has always been competitive and followed in the footsteps of her older sisters, who are also swimmers, her mother said. Kendall Smith swam for the University of Utah, where she served as swim team captain during the 2005-06 school year. Her sister Carly swims for the Brigham Young University swim team and her two younger brothers also swim.

Another sister, Katelyn, instead became a musician like her mother. She now attends LDS Business College.

Candice Smith's father, Timpanogos High School seminary principal Mark Smith, taught his children how to swim at the fitness center when his wife was teaching private music lessons. The couple both swam competitively when they were younger, Shauna Smith said.

Now 17, Candice Smith has been swimming for 11 years. She was named a High School All American three times, the first time when as a high school freshman she broke the state swim meet record by three seconds.

"Every day I want to do something new, try harder in a class or practice. If I'm not progressing I'm falling behind," Candice Smith said.

She has friends not only on her team, but also on competing teams. Before a meet she is known to hug her competition, beat them and then tell them how well they did, Shauna Smith said.

If Candice Smith makes it to the Olympics she will need sponsors. But rather than donate to her, Shauna Smith suggests donating to the Hilltop Aquatics swim club at the fitness center, and the club will sponsor her.

Whether she makes it to the Olympics or not "it's a big deal to make it to the trials," Shauna Smith said.

Already her daughter is deciding among several college swimming scholarships.

E-mail: rodger@desnews.com