Gators swimmer Bobby Finke's family to miss his first trip to Olympics

Finke will compete in the 800 and 1500 meter races in Tokyo
Posted at 5:23 AM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 18:37:52-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — After being delayed for one year, the Summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo beginning this week. Florida Gator swimmer Bobby Finke will be there becoming the first male swimmer from Pinellas County to be a U.S. Olympian.

“When the kid couldn’t even walk, I would take him down to the pool on Clearwater Beach,” Jeanne Finke said.

Her son, Bobby, has come a long way since mom’s swimming lessons and the sibling competition.

“I have two older sisters and we are all pretty competitive,” Bobby told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “I think that’s what helped me the most being competitive with them.”

Finke, a former Countryside High School swimmer, punched his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics with wins in the 800 and 1500 meter races at U.S. qualifiers last month.

“When I hugged him after the 800, yeah I cried,” his father Joe Finke said. “Extremely proud.”

“There was a lot of love in that moment,” Bobby said. “My dad has gone to nearly every single practice with me in high school and growing up. He was always there for the long car rides, the weather, the traffic, 4 a.m., just everything.”

Bobby’s parents have been poolside ever since his first competitive race at six years old. But mom and dad won’t be in the stands in Tokyo. Due to COVID-19, spectators are not allowed.

“It would be amazing if they could come,” Bobby said.

“Chances are we will have a better view of him swimming on TV than we would if we were there,” Joe said. “With the way COVID is working and what they are doing in Japan, they’ll be going between the Olympic Village and the venue. There wouldn’t be any time to see him. We would love to be there, but you live with what you got.”

And, what they got is technology, doing the best they can to stay connected while a world apart.

“I have been getting a lot of dog pictures, it’s been really nice,” Bobby said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them all again, especially Brewster, he’s my dog.”