Friday, July 6, 2012

Men's 50m freestyle Olympic trials

"The water is your friend.  You don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move." — Aleksandr Popov, winner of four gold and five silver Olympic medals in swimming

IT WAS OVER in 21.59 seconds. Here was the lineup.

Lane 1 — Matt Grevers
Lane 2 — Cullen Jones
Lane 3 — Josh Schneider
Lane 4 — Anthony Ervin
Lane 5 — Nathan Adrian
Lane 6 — Jimmy Feigen
Lane 7 — Jason Schnur
Lane 8 — Adam Small

Paul and I were rooting for Cullen Jones in lane 2 and Anthony Ervin in lane 4. We might have seen a total of two nonwhite swimmers competing in the trials, so we were pulling for Cullen to make his mark, and Anthony has a great story. 

He won two Olympic medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics — gold in the men's 50-meter freestyle and silver as a member of the  US 4x100 freestyle relay team. Following those successes, he won two gold medals at the 2001 World Championships, one in the 50m freestyle and the other in the 100m freestyle. 

Then in 2003 at the age of 22, Anthony stopped swimming competitively, and the following year he auctioned off his Olympic gold medal on eBay to aid survivors of the 2004 tsunami. He began training again only recently — 2011 in fact, and then there he was in the pool at these 2012 Olympic Trials trying to stage a comeback at age 31.

Swimming is like track; the one who has the fastest qualifying time from the semifinal races gets lane 4 and then as the lanes go outwards in both directions, the times gets progressively slower. Bearing in mind of course, that at this level they're all incredibly fast, when someone wins from the outside lanes, they've beaten expectations.

The lanes are numbered from right to left.

Off the blocks. Right to left, lane 4 (Anthony Ervin), 5 (Nathan Adrian), 
6 (Jimmy Feigen) and 7 (Jason Shnur). 

From the lower right hand corner, Cullen in lane 2, Josh Schneider in lane 3, 
Anthony in lane 4 and Nathan Adrian in lane 5.
Some sort of record was broken so the flash pots were set off.

Cullen came in first and Ervin second, so both of our faves in this race are going to London. Cullen is in the blue and red cap and Anthony is to his right with his cap off.

The results speak for themselves.
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