BUFFALO, NY -- Western New York has turned out a number of Olympic athletes in various sports.
Matt Anderson in volleyball, Emily Regan in rowing, Jake Kaminski in archery and Steve Mesler in the bobsled have all brought home Olympic hardware.
Anita Alvarez competed in synchronized swimming at the Rio Olympics. Synchronized swimming is a unique and demanding sport. Alvarez is an inspiration and a mentor to another young woman who's hoping to compete for her country in the Olympics.
Cassie Neeley is a junior at Williamsville South High School. She swims for the Buffalo Swimkins. In December she made the junior national team in Texas. Neeley will head to California in August to start training and competing for a spot on the 2018 World Team.
Neeley won't be able to graduate with her high school class. She told Two On Your Side's Stu Boyar: "I'm a little upset that I won't get to graduate at South this year.. er...next year but I'm really excited because I feel like I'm ready for this and I've been wanting this for a long time. "
Neeley's family is excited for her and extremely supportive. Her mom Suzanne Neeley told Stu "I'm a little nervous but she's actually really ready for it. She's really prepared. She's really spent a lot of time and effort so I think she's ready to go. She's been ready."
Swimkins coach Debbie Latchford told Stu Cassie is a hard worker to go along with her natural ability.
"She has the natural athletic skills that you want in every synchronized simmer," Latchford said. "She has long beautiful legs, she has flexibility, she has endurance and strength."
The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan. They'll run from July 24 through August 9 and perhaps have another Western New York connection.