Seattle University swimmer Kevlyn Richards is in Omaha, Neb., for the 2012 United States Olympic Swim Trials, having qualified for the meet in early June. In the second of a series of first-person accounts, she talks about the first two days of the Trials, including her participation in the women's 100 meter breaststroke preliminaries.
Day One of Olympic Trials:
I walked into the pool and was instantly amazed. 10 lanes, 50 meters long, in the middle of a huge arena. During my practice for the day, I saw Michael Phelps pondering over which lane to take for warm-up (too bad he didn't pick mine). Rebecca Soni sat right behind me during the entire prelims. Everyone going to the Olympics was at this meet, and the crazy part was that I had qualified and am swimming in this same meet.
Finals was an entire different atmosphere. It was as if they put on a concert for swimming. The arena was packed. The first race was the finals in the men's 400 IM. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte dueled it out until the very end where Lochte pulled ahead in the last 100 meters. Dana Vollmer set a record for the fastest 100 fly on US ground. Elizabeth Beisel took the 400 IM and Peter Vanderkaay out-touched Conor Dwyer by .16 seconds in the 400 free, earning his place on the Olympic Team.
Day Two of Olympic Trials:
My race was today and I had been so excited to dive in the pool and compete. We had to sit in a room before our race with our heat. We were then led out on deck while the heat before us was finishing. I put my goggles on and was ready for the race! My time was a 1:14.00. Not as good as I wanted but not one part of me was sad. I worked so hard to get here and I knew even the experience of being here was worth the trip. Going into the meet I knew that the multiple times of training and resting had been hard on my body, and this was the end of the rollercoaster. I did move up 10 places to be 139th, but more importantly I would not trade this experience for anything.
Finals was just as exciting as the first night. Brendan Hansen took the men's 100m breaststroke after coming out of retirement. Allison Schmitt swam her first 200 of the 400 meter freestyle under world record pace. She ended up winning, earning her spot on the Olympic Team. Dana Vollmer easily took the 100 meter fly earning herself a position on the Olympic Team.
I am looking forward to seeing what happens the next few days and hopefully even more records broken. The support from everyone has been amazing, thank you so much!