VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – Kayla Wilson admits, the Olympic Trials were a whole different beast altogether.

“It was very nerve-racking,” said Wilson, who competed at last weekend’s trials in Omaha, Nebraska. “I’ve never been at a meet like that, but my heart was racing when I was walking out to my block.”

The 17-year old rising senior at Norfolk Academy managed to fight off some of those nerves, and was the only competitor from Tide Swimming to advance into the semifinal round of the 200-meter freestyle.

“I was not expecting that at all,” said Wilson. “When I saw my name at 16th, I was so happy.”

Though she wasn’t able to make it to the finals, Wilson shared a national television spotlight and a pool with five-time gold medalist Katie Ledecky. “It was incredible,” she said.

One of four from Tide Swimming to make the trials, Wilson hopes to use her experience as a springboard to more accomplishments down the road. “I think I do need to work on being able to control my nerves at a meet like that” said Wilson. “(My) ultimate goal has always been to try to make a junior team or represent USA at a international meet.”

She took a major step towards that goal last weekend.