June 20, 2008
Berkeley - Twenty-one current, former and incoming women's swimmers from the University of California will be competing with hundreds of top flight athletes from around the country for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team at the U.S. Time Trials from June 29-July 6 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
Under the tutelage of head coach Teri McKeever, California Aquatics (club team) will have 16 of its members, including the most decorated women's swimmer in the history of the program, Natalie Coughlin, competing in several different events. The roster also includes 2004 Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer, along with a mix of All-Americans and NCAA National Champions: Emily Silver, Lauren Rogers, Ashley Chandler, Madison Kennedy, Blake Hayter, Rachel Ridgeway, Alexandra Ellis, Tara Thomas, Amanda Sims and Erin Reilly. Rounding out the talented Cal Aquatics group are Courtney Eronemo, Natalie LaRochelle, Emily Verdin and Heather White.
In addition, four incoming Cal swimmers (class of 2012) will be representing their respective club teams at the trials - Kirstyn Colonias (CROW), Ursula Dailey (FOG), Shelley Harper (WCAB) and Liv Jensen (PASA). Freshman Sara Sun will represent her club team (Pasadena Swim Assoc.) as well at the trials.
Although they will not be at the U.S. Olympic Time Trials, four current and former Bears will be representing their respective countries at the Summer Games having already qualified in their respective time trials - Lauren Boyle (New Zealand), Hannah Wilson (Hong Kong), Sherry Tsai (Hong Kong) and incoming freshman Sara Isakovic (Slovenia).
"In some ways, Trials are more stressful than the Olympics, said Coughlin. "As a swimmer, you dream of going to Olympics, but only two people make their Olympic dreams come true. There are two very happy people after a race, but there are six others who are not. The emotion is much higher at this meet than even at the Olympics."
NBC will carry coverage of the trials beginning Sunday, June 29 at 8:00 p.m. (PST). The USA Network then takes over coverage beginning Monday, June 30 through Thursday, July 3, all scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (PST). NBC rounds out the coverage from Friday, July 4 through Sun. July 6 - all slated for 8:00 p.m. (PST). Be sure to check your local listings for the channel lineup.
The following schedule is based on preliminary information provided by USA Swimming.
The first women's event (June 29) will be the preliminaries and semifinals of the 100-meter butterfly and it will feature Vollmer, Reilly, Sims, Thomas, Silver, Dailey and Ridgeway. Vollmer, who is a two-time Pac-10 champion in the 100 fly, collected gold medals in this event in April and May at the Stanford and Santa Clara Grand Prix's, respectively. The 400 Individual Medley preliminaries and finals also take place on the 29th and will feature White, Eronemo and Harper.
Coughlin makes her first appearance in the trials Monday (June 30) in the preliminaries of the 100-meter backstroke, an event in which she owns the fastest time in the world with a benchmark of 59.21 set at the Missouri Grand Prix on Feb. 17. She will be joined by two-time Pac-10 100 back champion Rogers, Thomas, White and Verdin.
Other Monday preliminaries include Colonias and Ellis competing in the 100-meter breaststroke (semifinals will take place later in the evening), and the 400-meter freestyle, featuring Hayter and Chandler, who came out of a semi-retirement to compete at the trials. The finals of the 100 fly will take place after the semifinals of the 100 back.
Coughlin returns Tuesday (July 1) in what should be a highly contested 200-meter freestyle preliminary. Coughlin owns the second-fastest time this year (1:56.43), which is .35 seconds behind Katie Hoff, who registered an American Record 1:56.08 at the Missouri Grand Prix on Feb. 17. Vollmer makes her second trials appearance as well in the 200 free, along with Reilly, Chandler, Silver, Kennedy and Hayter.
The final preliminary on Tuesday will be the 200 Individual Medley with Coughlin as the top seed after she set an American record 2:09.77 on June 6 at the Janet Evans Invitational. White, LaRochelle, Ridgeway and Eronemo will also be competing in the event.
Finals of the 100 back and 100 breast will also take place Tuesday night.
Preliminaries and semifinals for the 200-meter butterfly begin Wednesday (July 2), featuring Vollmer, Sims and Ridgeway, before the finals in the 200 free and 200 IM take place at night.
On Thursday (July 3), the preliminaries and semifinals of the 100-meter freestyle begin, with Coughlin holding the top time of 53.39 - an American record set at the Santa Clara Grand Prix on May 16. Vollmer, Silver, Kennedy, Jensen, Reilly and Chandler will also compete in the 100 free prelims.
Ellis and Colonias will both compete in the prelims for the 200-meter breaststroke (semifinals later at night); before the finals of the 200 fly take place in the evening.
Five more women's events take place on July 4, including the prelims of the 800-meter freestyle, featuring Chandler, Hayter, Sun and Harper. The preliminaries of the 200-meter backstroke (semifinals later in the evening) also take place and will feature Rogers (2008 Pac-10 Champion), Verdin and White. The finals of the 200 breast and 100 free round out the proceedings July 4.
Saturday, July 5 features the finals of the women's 200 back, 800 free and the preliminaries and semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle. Plenty of speed will be on display in the 50, as Coughlin, Silver, Vollmer, Jensen, Kennedy (school record holder in the 50 free), Reilly, Rogers and Thomas will all race. The finals of the 50 free take place on Sunday.
Based on bylaws set forth by USA Swimming, swimmers must meet a set of criteria to make the final 26-member roster. Swimmers who qualify via one of the four priorities set forth are eligible for selection to the initial team.
The first priority shall include the four available swimmers with the highest finishes in the finals of the trials of the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle events, and the available swimmer with the highest finish in the finals in each of the individual Olympic events other than the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle events.
The second priority shall be the available swimmer with the second-highest finish in the finals in each of the individual Olympic events other than the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle events.
The third priority shall be the fifth-fastest available swimmer based on the finish order in the finals in the 100-and 200-meter freestyles.
The fourth priority shall be the sixth-fastest available swimmer based on the finish order of the finals in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles.
Schedule of Events (Cal athletes only) provided by USA Swimming (Complete U.S. Time Trials Order of Events)
Sun., June 29 100-meter butterfly (preliminaries): Vollmer, Reilly, Sims, Thomas, Silver, Dailey, Ridgeway 400 Individual Medley (preliminaries): White, Eronemo, Harper (100 fly semifinals and 400 IM finals also on June 29)
Mon., June 30 100-meter backstroke (preliminaries): Coughlin, Rogers, Thomas, White, Verdin 100-meter breaststroke (preliminaries): Colonias, Ellis 400-meter freestyle (preliminaries): Chandler, Hayter (100 back semifinals, 100 fly finals, 100 breast semifinals and 400 free finals also on June 30)
Tues., July 1 200-meter freestyle (preliminaries): Coughlin, Vollmer, Reilly, Chandler, Silver, Kennedy, Hayter 200 Individual Medley (preliminaries): Coughlin, White, LaRochelle, Ridgeway, Eronemo (200 free semifinals, 100 back finals, 100 breast finals and 200 IM semifinals also on July 1)
Wed., July 2 200-meter butterfly (preliminaries): Vollmer, Sims, Ridgeway (200 free finals, 200 fly semifinals and 200 IM finals also on July 2)
Thurs., July 3 100-meter freestyle (preliminaries): Coughlin, Vollmer, Silver, Kennedy, Jensen, Reilly, Chandler 200-meter breaststroke (preliminaries): Ellis, Colonias (100 free semifinals, 200 fly finals and 200 breast semifinals also on July 3)
Fri., July 4 800-meter freestyle (preliminaries): Chandler, Hayter, Sun, Harper 200-meter backstroke (preliminaries): Rogers, Verdin, White (200 breast finals, 200 back semifinals and 100 free finals also on July 4)
Sat., July 5 50-meter freestyle (preliminaries): Coughlin, Silver, Vollmer, Jensen, Kennedy, Reilly, Rogers, Thomas (200 back finals, 800 free finals, 50 free semifinals also on July 5)
Sun., July 6 50-meter freestyle finals
For more detailed coverage, television listings, video streaming, interviews, photos, bios and more please also visit NBCOlympics.com or USASwimming.org.
Complete California Women's Swimming Representation (U.S. Olympic Time Trials) Representing California Aquatics: Ashley Chandler: 100, 200, 400, 800 free Natalie Coughlin: 50, 100, 200 free, 200 IM, 100 back Alexandra Ellis: 100, 200 breast Courtney Eronemo: 200, 400 IM Blake Hayter: 200, 400, 800 free Madison Kennedy: 50, 100, 200 free Natalie LaRochelle: 200 IM Erin Reilly: 100 fly, 50, 100, 200 free Rachel Ridgeway: 200 IM, 100, 200 fly Lauren Rogers: 100, 200 back, 50 free Emily Silver: 100 fly, 50, 100, 200 free Amanda Sims: 100, 200 fly Tara Thomas: 50 free, 100 fly, 100 back Dana Vollmer: 50, 100, 200 free, 100, 200 fly Heather White: 200, 400 IM, 100, 200 back Emily Verdin: 100, 200 back
Returning Bear representing Pasadena Swim Assoc.: Sara Sun: 800 free (Pasadena Swim Association)
Incoming Bears (class of 2012) representing their club teams: Kirstyn Colonias: 100, 200 breast (Crow Canyon Aquatics) Ursula Dailey: 100 fly (Fog City) Shelley Harper: 400 IM, 800 free (Walnut Creek Aquatics) Liv Jensen: 50, 100 free (Palo Alto)
International Bears representing their countries (already qualified for Beijing) Lauren Boyle (Member of New Zealand Olympic Team) Hannah Wilson (Member of Hong Kong Olympic Team) Sherry Tsai (Member of Hong Kong Olympic Team) Sara Isakovic (Member of Slovenia Olympic Team)