Three Hoosiers Race in Finals at U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials
July 1, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. - With a trip to Beijing and the 2008 Olympics on the line, three swimmers with Indiana University ties competed in finals of the 100-meter backstroke Tuesday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
Hoosiers Presley Bard and Leila Vaziri swam side-by-side in lanes seven and eight in the final of the women's 100-meter backstroke and Bard touched fifth in a time of 1:01.03. Vaziri was seventh with a time of 1:01.42. The event was won by Natalie Coughlin with a world-record time of 58.97.
Junior Bard and alum Vaziri earned their places in the final after strong performances in Monday night's semifinal races. After slipping into the 16th and final semifinal spot in the morning prelims, Bard had a career swim with a time of 1:00.92 to finish sixth overall in the semis. That is the second-fastest time in IU history. She was joined by Vaziri who snagged the eighth and final spot with a time of 1:01.40.
In one of the fastest 100-meter backstroke races in history, Ben Hesen finished fifth with a personal-best time of 53.68. In each of his three swims Hesen bettered his personal mark every time but could not match the world-record pace of Aaron Piersol who lowered his own record with a time of 52.89 to punch his ticket to China. The second Olympic spot went to former Big Ten Champion Matt Grevers who touched in 53.19.
Hesen recorded the third-fastest time in Monday's prelims, clocking in at a then-career-best 53.88. He went 1/100th better in the second semifinal Monday evening, placing third in his heat at 53.87.
In Tuesday morning prelims, Amanda Smith clocked a time of 2:20.72 to finish 80th in the women's 200-meter individual medley, while Cody Weik was 71st in the men's 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:04.76.
Wednesday's lineup includes Todd Patrick in the 100-meter freestyle, Brittany Barwegen and Smith in the 200-meter butterfly, and Macgregor Leo, Heath Tameris, Alec Haley, A.J. Miller, Aaron Opell, Pat Penoyar and Kevin Swander in the men's 200-meter breaststroke. Swander already has a fifth-place finish in the 100 breast to his credit.
Wednesday's evening session will be broadcast live on USA Network from 8-9 p.m. ET.
Check back soon