June 30, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Through the first two days of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, three swimmers with Wyoming ties have made splashes in the water at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. Current UW swimmers Alex Larkin and Lesley Young along with former Cowboy Scott Usher have all begun competition in the most prestigious American meet.
"This has been an unbelievable experience for our kids thus far," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "USA Swimming and the Qwest Center have put together a tremendous meet environment. It has been such a thrill to compete in front of crowds of over 12,000 against the best talent in the country."
Scott Usher, a five time All-American at UW, has seen the most success of the group and placed seventh in finals of the 100-meter breaststroke on Monday night. Usher, who made the U.S. Olympic team in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2004, turned in a finals time of 1:01.42. Usher's preliminary time of 1:00.97 on Sunday morning was a personal best time. Usher missed qualifying by just five spots as the top-two finishers in each event qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Alex Larkin, a senior on the Cowboy roster, also competed in the 200-meter breaststroke preliminaries on Sunday. The Bend, Ore. native placed 68th in a field of the 81 most elite national swimmers with a time of 1:05.45.
"Alex had a tough race. He got off to a bad start and had to force things to try to get back into the mix," said Johnson. "It was a tough break, but now he just needs to dust himself off and get ready for the 200 on Wednesday."
Lesley Young, a sophomore from Turlock, Calif., competed in the women's 100-meter breaststroke on Monday morning. Young placed 85th in a field of 105 with a time of 1:13.15. This was Young's only race of the trials.
"Lesley had a nice swim in the 100 and a great time swimming in this elite meet," added Johnson. "It was a little tough for Lesley because she had to peak earlier this month to qualify for the trials. She had a very nice race considering she had already peaked with her taper just three weeks ago and wasn't able to build all of her training toward the trials. Overall, this was a tremendous experience for her and something she can build on as she enters her sophomore year next fall."
All three Cowboys will return to action on Wednesday for the 200-meter breaststroke. Usher and Larkin, along with high school signee Brandon Fisher, will open the 200 on Wednesday morning. The preliminaries will be held Wednesday morning, the semifinals that night and the finals will take place on Thursday night.
Wednesday and Thursday's action will be televised nationally by the USA Network. Each night's broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. (MST). Live results of the trials can also be followed on-line at www.usaswimming.org.