Olympics swim trials: Jessica Hardy takes lead, Dara Torres vies for berth
BY BETH HARRIS Associated Press
Monday, July 02, 2012
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Michael Phelps' Olympic program is set. He'll be going for another eight gold medals.
He's not the only one who'll be busy in London. Get ready to see a lot of Missy Franklin.
And how about Anthony Ervin. After eight years away from swimming, he's going back to Olympics, too.
Phelps wrapped up another stellar week at the U.S. trials Sunday night, rallying to win the 100-meter butterfly and secure his spot in five individual races at the Olympics. Throw in the three relays, and that adds up to eight.
"I guess that's OK," Phelps said nonchalantly.
Franklin, 17, will have four individual races in London after capping her week with a dominating win in the 200 backstroke. She is expected to swim all three relays, as well, setting her up to become the first U.S. woman to swim seven events in a single games.
Ervin will have only one event in London, a chaotic dash from one end of the pool to the other. But it's amazing that he's going at all, considering he walked away from the sport in 2003 while at the peak of his career, burned out and desperate to discover a deeper meaning to life. He spent eight years working odd jobs, finished his college degree and even auctioned off the gold medal he won in the 50 free at Sydney in 2000 to aid tsunami victims.
Now, after returning to the sport just a year ago, he's got a chance to win another gold. A runner-up finish behind Cullen Jones in the 50 freestyle locked up his spot on the U.S. team.
A couple of other races provided quite a generation gap. Kathleen Ledecky, 15, earned a spot on her first Olympic team with a win in the 800 freestyle, while 45-year-old Dara Torres advanced to the final of the women's 50 free - and a shot at her sixth Olympic team - with the third-fastest time in the semifinals.
"It's much tougher this time around," Torres said.
Jessica Hardy (left), Dara Torres and Liv Jensen dive at the start of a heat in the women's 50-meter freestyle preliminaries Sunday at the Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb. MARK HUMPHREY / Associated Press