Monday June 25, 2012Three Gators Stamp Their Tickets to London on Opening Night of US Swim Trials
The Gators opened the Olympic Swim Trials in fleeting fashion as one current and two former Gators earned the opportunity to don the Red, White and Blue in London.
Gators and US Olympic Head Coach Gregg Troy coached four of the first six Olympians to earn spots on the 2012 US Olympic Swim Team in Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.), Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) and Peter Vanderkaay on the first night of competition of the 2012 Olympic Trials at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., Monday evening.
ÒThese kids bring out the best in me,Ó said Troy when addressing the media. ÒItÕs nice to see them go out there and give it their all.Ó
The night began with a spectacular performance by Lochte in one of the most anticipated races of the week – the menÕs 400 IM – which pinned him against fellow competitor and USA Swimming phenom Michael Phelps. Lochte, the two-time reigning World Champion, out swam Phelps - who has not swum the race at a major meet since he claimed gold in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics.
Lochte stamped his passport to London with a personal-best 4:07.06 swim; Phelps followed at 4:07.89.
ÒThe first race is always the hardest,Ó remarked Lochte. ÒI always feel like I can win. That race is over now; I have so many more races left in this meet.Ó
After 300 meters and an incredible breaststroke, Lochte broke away. His swim is the fastest in the world this year, and an even better performance than his 2011 FINA World Championship-clinching race in Shanghai last summer. However, it wasnÕt the first feat for Lochte to bypass on the night. The win marked the first time that the Gator had dethroned Phelps in the race.
ÒWe have the two best swimmers in the world right now, and weÕll try and do our best in London,Ó explained Lochte on his 400 IM performance against Phelps. ÒDespite this, I still think that IÕm the hunter, thatÕs just my mindset going into each year. I feel like IÕm the hunter trying to catch him [Phelps] still.Ó
Gator swim caps continued to dive into the water when Vanderkaay, training under Troy, and Dwyer took to the pool for the 400 free. The duo finished one-two, respectively, to each earn a spot on the Olympic squad. The trip is the third of its kind for Vanderkaay, and the first ever for Dwyer.
ÒItÕs tough to put this into words,Ó explained Dwyer after earning his spot on the Olympic squad. ÒItÕs just a dream come true.Ó
Dwyer touched second in 3:47.83 – shaving three seconds off of his previous best swim in the event.
ÒI just put my head down, just like practice,Ó said Dwyer. ÒI just wanted to get home and get that hand on that wall.Ó
Beisel, who just completed her sophomore year at Florida, will make her second trip to the Olympics, earning her ticket to London with a first-place 4:31.74 effort in the womenÕs 400 IM – the lowest mark of her career – faster than her 2011 FINA World Championship performance and cruising past her own textile-best time (non-polyurethane suits) by .04, to record the 10th-best time in history.
ÒI was very surprised with the time. I think coming into this meet a lot of people have confidence issues, and I was one of them. Luckily, I have plenty of people to help calm me down,Ó said Beisel. ÒI wasnÕt expecting that time, so it was a good surprise. It felt so good to finally go fast tonight.Ó
The sophomore finished more than two seconds ahead of Caitlin Leverenz, who touched second, and will represent the US alongside Beisel in London.
As a 15-year old, about to enter her junior year of high school, Beisel finished fourth in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The 2012 Olympic Swim Trials will continue again tomorrow with preliminary heats in the menÕs and womenÕs 100 back, menÕs 200 free, womenÕs 100 breast and womenÕs 400 free; finals in the womenÕs 100 fly and 400 free, menÕs 100 breast and semifinals in the menÕs 200 free and 100 back.
All but the fastest heats of preliminaries will be webcast live at www.usaswimming.org June 25-July 1. The fastest 2-4 heats of preliminaries will be broadcast on tape delay by NBC Sports later that day. Please note that finals will air live on NBC at 8 p.m. ET and at 7 p.m. CT. Finals will air tape delayed in the mountain time zone at 7 p.m. and at 8 p.m. in the pacific time zone.
A full recap of each dayÕs events and results will be available on GatorZone.com. For new, schedules, events and the Facebook and Twitter feeds of the 2012 Olympic Trials, please log on to http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1450
For all the latest information on Florida womenÕs swimming and diving, please log on to www.GatorZne.com/swimmingdiving/women or, for up-to-the-minute information on everything Florida swimming, follow swimming and diving on Twitter @GatorZoneSwimDv. You can also follow the Gators on Facebook.
MenÕs 400 IM
Ryan Lochte, 1st, 4:07.06*
Carlos Omana, 17th, 4:23.39
Billy Silva, 27th, 4:25.67
Michael Joyce, 28th, 4:25.92
Connor Signorin, 36th, 4:26.75
Matt Elliott, 37th, 4:26.85
Alex Martin, 45th,
WomenÕs 100 Fly
Natalie Hinds, 47th, 1:00.81
Kaitlin Frehling, 74th, 1:01.69
Sierra Kuhn, 79th, 1:01.74
Molly Dubrasky, 99th, 1:02.25
MenÕs 400 Free
Peter Vanderkay, 1st, 3:47.67
Conor Dwyer, 2nd, 3:47.83*
Nicholas Caldwell, 18th, 3:53.38
Arthur Frayler, 20th, 3:53.69
Jason Taylor, 26th, 3:56.26
Joey Pedraza, 56th, 3:59.69
Billy Silva, 69th, 4:00.87
WomenÕs 400 IM
Elizabeth Beisel, 1st, 4:31.74
Rebecca Rainer, 19th, 4:49.99
Sierra Kuhn, 47th, 4:53.77
Jordan Smith, 85th, 4:59.09
Lauren Neidigh, 86th, 4:59.17
Trish Regan, 121st, 5:06.83
MenÕs 100 Breast
Ricky Munch, 29th, 1:02.57