July 3, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming swimming program's journey in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials came to a close on Thursday night at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. with the conclusion of the men's 200-meter breaststroke.
Three swimmers with Wyoming ties competed in the 200-meter breaststroke in former Cowboy All-American Scott Usher, senior Alex Larkin and Brandon Fischer, an incoming freshman who will join the Cowboys this fall.
"This was a great experience for our four athletes as well as our entire program. It was really special to be at the Olympic Trials and see people in the crowd wearing the bucking horse," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "It was nice to have a strong number of Wyoming swimmers in this meet and hopefully this experience will inspire our program and we can continue to become more and more visible in the national swimming scene."
Scott Usher, who made the Olympic team in 2004, missed qualifying for his second Olympics by just one qualifying spot. Usher finished third with a time of 2:11.00 and missed qualifying by just .64 seconds. Usher finished ahead of Brendan Hansen, who held the World Record until recently, for the first time in his career. Scott Spann won the event with a time of 2:09.97 and Eric Shanteau placed second in 2:10.36.
"It was a bittersweet night for Scott and I feel for him," said Johnson. "He beat the former World Record holder in Brendan Hansen for the first time in his career, but missed the ultimate prize by just six tenths of a second. Third is the toughest place to finish because you know how close you were to qualifying. I am very proud of Scott and his effort."
Brandon Fischer, a high school signee from Livermore, Calif. who will join the Cowboys in the fall, had a very solid showing in his first Olympic Trials. The freshman to be placed 45th in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:19.56. In all, the top 65 swimmers in the nation competed in the event.
Alex Larkin, a native of Bend, Ore., finished just behind Fischer. He closed out his first Olympic Trials experience by swimming to a 51st place finish with a time of 2:21.81.
"Having three Cowboys in one race at the Olympic Trials was something special and I am very proud of all three of them," added Johnson. "Hopefully Alex and Brandon can use this experience of their first trials as a stepping stone for next season. The future at Wyoming is very bright and we are looking forward to the 2008-09 season and getting these guys to the top of the MWC and to the NCAA's."