Tucson Ford Aquatics swimmer Lara Jackson has signed with swimwear and swim-equipment manufacturer FINIS Inc, according to family’s personal blog, and she has Annie Chandler to thank for it.
Her mom, Tina, relayed the story of the happy-accident for how the Jackson-FINIA partnership began. Jackson’s teammate in Tucson, breaststroker Annie Chandler, was sent some suits by the company. Chandler, being 6-feet tall, couldn’t quite squeeze into them, so she gave them to the 5’8″ Jackson to try out at a meet in July. Word got out that she loved her FINIS suit, and so the company contacted her and offered her an endorsement deal.
Jackson, preferring to wait until after US Nationals to agree to a deal, held off on signing, and this was a fortuitous decision on her part. She won US Nationals in the 50m free wearing one of FINIS’ Velo technical racing suits, which according to the company made her the first swimmer to ever win a national title wearing their suits. The company came back with a much more generous offer as a result of Jackson getting back into the national-conciousness, and she accepted.
This is more exciting news for Jackson, who reminded the country of her speed at US Nationals with that 50m freestyle swim of 24.98 which moved her to 17th in the world in 2011. It’s great to see good things happening for such a wonderful young lady after several years of tough-going.
At the 2008 Olympic Trials, she finished 3rd in the 50 free, but was not offered a spot when Jessica Hardy lost her spot on the team. Then, in 2009, just after her final NCAA Championship meet, where she broke the NCAA record in the 50 free (21.27), her father tragically died in a motorcycle accident. Her family was very close, and that loss absolutely devestated the swimmer, as it would anybody.
But now she’s back in the national spotlight and aiming for the 2012 Olympic Team. In 2011, she ranks as the 2nd-fastest American 50 freestyler (behind only the aforementioned Hardy), but with a deep group it will be a dogfight for the Olympic spot. Still, with FINIS in her corner, and her confidence riding higher than it has in years, she’s got a great chance. I know I’m rooting for her.