16-year-old Fox Chapel swimmer selected for Team USA junior team after U.S. Olympic trials

“It was really emotional for me, because I have been wanting it for so long. And, just being there and being able to experience it for the first time was just, it was really special,” said swimmer Zoe Skirboll.

It has been a year full of emotions for Fox Chapel’s Zoe Skirboll. The 16-year-old is a swimming star who recently competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials and was selected to be on Team USA’s junior world team.

“No one could do anything, and these kids realized how much they love the sport,” said Jim Skirboll, Zoe’s father.

Jim Skirboll is Zoe’s father and swim coach.

During the height of the pandemic, they spent seven weeks traveling around Florida and Pittsburgh, looking for pools where she could train.

“It was a really tough time. Being away from something that you’ve been used to your whole life, having the same schedule everyday, then going two months without it - it was really hard,” said Zoe.

Over Father’s Day weekend, Zoe competed in Team USA’s Olympic Trials and improved her time in every single race.

“It was like a volcano of emotions coming out,” said Jim.

Zoe didn’t make Team USA this year, so she is now focused on making the team for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. She plans on attending the University of Virginia where she will swim for the women’s team. And, while her father won’t be her coach anymore, he will get to experience Zoe’s accomplishments in a new way.

“It is going to be great to sit with the spectators and high-five other parents while we watch our kids compete in the NCAA, and hopefully win an NCAA title.”

But for now, the Skirboll family will continue to train, hoping one day, Zoe will go for gold.

“I love seeing the crowd. I like to hear what’s going on. I like to hear the spectators screaming. I like to hear everyone getting excited. It’s like the coolest thing ever,” said Zoe.

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