Updated July 5, 2008
USA Swimming | Preliminary Video Web Casts | Live Timing
The 2008 USA Swimming Olympic Team Trials are being held June 29 - July 6 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. There are 44 current, former or future Auburn swimmers among the 1,228 vying for a spot on the U.S. team for the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games. NBC Sports will carry nightly coverage of the meet from 7 - 9 p.m. CT on either NBC or the USA Network - check your local listings for more information. Each day, one of the Auburn swimmers will send an update from Omaha and their experience as part of the selection meet for the Olympic team. For more information on the Olympic Trials, go to www.USASwimming.org.
Check the daily preliminary and final recaps for interviews with Auburn swimmers from FloSwimming.org.
Day 1 (June 27): Arriving in Omaha
By Emile Ewing
Yay for being in Omaha!! What an amazing opportunity to be a part of something that is literally going to change the sport of swimming. From the newest and fastest suits ever made to a venue that can pretty much seat my entire hometown, this meet will without a doubt be the fastest and most exciting meet in history.
We left Auburn Thursday morning and had a straight flight to Omaha. (Auburn Director of Swimming Operations Denny Pursley) was waiting at the airport for us when we landed with sandwiches and water, which was so amazing. We got our bags off the claim and drove to the hotel, which is only a 10 or 15 minute walk from the Qwest Center. We had plenty of time to get settled, unpack, nap, or do whatever before heading over to the pool to register and swim off the travel.
There are tons of volunteers and military personnel stationed all around the Qwest Center offering directions and checking credentials. It's intense to say the least. I found out after walking all the way around the warmdown pool that I needed my tag to leave and go to the locker room so I got the chance to tour the warmdown area yet again to go back and get it.
Something that I really love is that children from around the area have hundreds of Olympic-themed signs and banners on the walls leading up to the warmdown area saying anything from "Try Hard!" to "Good luck Team USA!" to "Follow your Dreams!"
The atmosphere in the competition pool, even with the stands completely empty, is absolutely awesome. The set up reminds me of the way our basketball coliseum is set up with seats going straight up all the way around the pool and a big jumbotron in the center, and as an Auburn swimmer, I think it's a positive thing to be able to associate the facility with something that I'm familiar and comfortable with. We also were sized for our Speedo LZR suits yesterday and got them once we were back in the hotel. We were advised to try them on before the meets starts to get comfortable with them.
Today some of us are walking over to the pool around 10:30 in the second shift. We are all pretty much doing different things once we get there, depending on which day we start swimming. I think we may go watch a movie later on this afternoon and just relax.
Ok, that's all for now. Hope everyone who is coming to the meet has a safe trip and want to thank everyone at home cheering for all the Auburn people here.
Day 2 (June 28): Swimming Starts Tomorrow
By Emily Kukors
Today was the final day of preparation before the 2008 Olympic Trials! I can't believe we are here already! I remember thinking about this week four years ago after the last Olympic Trials had concluded. Everyone is settling in and getting comfortable being in this intense, but electrifying environment.
It's been fun to see my two younger sisters (Ariana and Mattie) and I am excited to see them compete this week. The team has really been taking it easy and really getting ready to race our hearts out.
Today everything was back to normal after a crazy storm yesterday afternoon that left parts of the Qwest Center roof out in the streets.
This week, as I approach my last Olympic Trials, I hope to really embrace every day and every opportunity that comes my way. I have learned so much over my four years at Auburn and I am excited to apply all that I have learned about myself and my racing into this week.
Get ready for a fun week from all of us.. we are ready to race!
NOTE: USA Swimming announced Saturday that the Web site NBCOlympics.com will carry live coverage of the preliminary sessions each day at Olympic Trials. Olympic gold medalist and former National Team captain Josh Davis will be the commentator. The webcasts begin Sunday and will air each day of Trials starting at 11 a.m. Central Time.
Fans can also follow all the action with live timing at www.OmegaTiming.com.
DAY 1 PRELIMS: 21 Current, former and future Auburn swimmers will swim in preliminaries in Sunday's opening session. Current Tiger Andrew Mitchell (Heat 7) and former Auburn swimmer Andrew Callahan (6) open the session in the 400m IM. Mitchell will swim in the final heat, just two lanes over from Michael Phelps. Six more Tigers then join the action in the women's 100m butterfly. Melissa Marik leads things off in the fifth heat, followed by Melanie Roberts (8), Kelsey Winters (13) and Margaret Hoelzer, the No. 8 overall seed, in the 17th heat. Margo McCawley and Emily Kukors will actually race side-by-side in the 100m fly in the 12th heat.
Robert Looney and Will Dove follow in the 400m freestyle. Looney is first in the fourth heat and is the top seed in the heat. Dove rounds out the event for Auburn in the sixth heat. Next, in the women's 400m IM, Erica Meissner leads off in the third heat, followed by Blakeley Bunch (5), former Tiger Julie Stupp (9) and Ava Ohlgren (9). Ohlgren is the No. 6 overall seed in the event.
The prelim session then wraps up with the men's 100m breaststroke. Adam Klein leads things off in the third heat, followed by Michael Silva (4), Jon Hiett (6), James Wike (8), Jon Roberts (9), Mark Gangloff (10) and Eric Shanteau (11). Gangloff is the No. 2 overall seed in the event while Shanteau, the No. 7 overall seed, will race in the final heat next to top seed Brendan Hansen.
Day 3 (June 29): Trials Begins!
By Kara Denby
The battle for a spot on the 2008 Olympic Team has officially begun! It's weird to think that four years have flown by so quickly and I'm actually here again.
Olympic Trials is definitely different than any other meet. The stakes are at their highest and people are going faster than ever! Just tonight we got to see two World Records and one American Record get broken (and it's only day one!). Being in an arena setting like this with an unbelievable crowd makes the environment absolutely electrifying. When people go fast and records get broken the cheers are so deafening it's hard not to get chills!
As a team I think we've gotten off to a great start! This morning we came away with most people going best times which is a challenge at such an emotionally-charged meet. A lot of us (including myself) didn't swim today and can't wait to start racing tomorrow!
Probably the most important thing for us right now at this meet is making sure we manage our energy well and stay focused mentally. It's a long meet and all the excitement can drain us of the energy we will need to perform later in the week. That means a lot of sitting around in the hotel (boring!) until we get to race.
So far I've been having a great time. It's a rare experience being a part of something as special as the Trials for the Olympic Team and I'm making a point to enjoy every aspect of my experience! I've been feeling great in the water and I'm ready to go fast tomorrow!
Well we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. Get excited because we are going to be GREAT!
DAY 2 PRELIMS: 21 current, former and future Auburn swimmers will return to action Monday in preliminary action. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. CT and fans can follow along live with a video Webcast at www.NBCOlympics.com or with live timing at www.OmegaTiming.com.
Swimming gets started with the women's 100m backstroke preliminary. Erica Meissner leads things off in the second heat, followed by Melissa Marik in the 10th. Julianne McLane will swim in the 13th heat while Emile Ewing will swim in lane one of the 16th and final heat. Margaret Hoelzer and Margo McCawley will also compete in the 100m back and will actually swim against each other in the 14th heat. Hoelzer, the No. 3 overall seed in the event, will swim as the top seed in the heat.
Action continues in the men's 200m freestyle with Will Dove starting things off in the third heat. Former Tigers Joey Schneider and Doug Van Wie will follow in the sixth and 11th heats, respectively. Van Wie will actually swim in the final heat, taking lane eight, and will compete against top seed Michael Phelps.
Kara Denby will lead things off for Auburn in the women's 100m breaststroke, swimming in the sixth heat. Former Tiger Julie Stupp will follow in the seventh and will be followed by Abby MacGregor (11) and Melanie Roberts (12).
In the final men's event of the morning, Auburn signee Max Murphy kicks things off in the seventh heat, followed by Scott Goodrich in the eighth. James Wike and Kohlton Norys will both swim in the 10th heat and will face off against Ryan Lochte. Doug Van Wie will follow in the 11th and final heat, swimming against top seed Aaron Peirsol (brother of former Auburn swimmer Hayley Peirsol).
In the final event of the session, Julianne McLane leads off in the first heat in the women's 400m freestyle. Chelsea Haser follows in the fourth heat while Micah Martindale (6) and Maggie Bird (9) round out the Auburn contingent.
Day 4 (June 30): Second Day of Swimming
By Ava Ohlgren
So far in this short time that we have been at the meet, the experience has been unbelievable, from raining inside the building to the 12,000 fans cheering, to the world records being broken, and the flames that are set off when records are broken, it has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I feel it's an honor being able to experience it.
The first day's swims included the men and women's 400 IM, men's 400 free, women's 100 fly and men's 100 breast. With three of the events already chosen for the Olympic team, everybody is focused on their next events for the week.
I had my first event yesterday, the 400 IM. Walking out into the spotlight in front of the 12,000 fans, looking down the brightly lit 50 meter pool sitting under the huge USA Olympic rings centered over the pool gives you an incredible jolt of adrenaline, along with quite a few nerves.
Personally, my first even did not end as well as I had hoped, but I also learned a lot from it for my future events of the week, you have to start over fresh for each event regardless of the outcome of the previous ones.
I am very much looking forward to my next events, and with the first one out of the way along with the initial nerves they are going to go off much more smoothly.
As I am writing this I am getting updates from the meet from Coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker, our women's 100 backstrokers just did a phenomenal job and Erica Meissner, Emile Ewing and Margo McCawley all made it back in semifinals this evening (along with alum Margaret Hoelzer), the next step on their road to Beijing.
Everyone is having a blast here in Omaha and we really appreciate all of support that we are getting from everyone who could not be here with us.
Thanks!!! And enjoy the rest of the show.
FIRST OLYMPIAN: Auburn got its first American Olympian of 2008 Monday night as Mark Gangloff finished second in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:00.42. For Gangloff, it is his second Olympic team as he was also a member of the team at the 2004 Athens Olympics where he won a gold medal as part of the winning U.S. 400m medley relay team. He swam the breaststroke leg on the relay.
Gangloff is the first American Auburn swimmer to appear on multiple Olympic teams since Scott Tucker swam in 1996 and 2000. He is also just the fourth American Auburn swimmer all-time to appear on multiple teams; Tucker, Bill Forrester (1976, 1980) and Rowdy Gaines (1980, 1984) are the others.
DAY 3 PRELIMS: Nineteen current, former and future Auburn swimmers will suit up for preliminaries Tuesday morning at the Olympic Trials. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. CT and fans can follow along live with a video Webcast at www.NBCOlympics.com or with live timing at www.OmegaTiming.com.
The session gets started with the women's 200m freestyle. Birmingham native Julie Golden goes off first in the second heat while teammate Melissa Marik and Emile Ewing will swim side-by-side in lanes six and five, respectively, in the third heat. Margo McCawley follows in the fourth heat with Caitlin Geary going in the ninth heat. Margaret Hoelzer will shoot for her third semifinal as she swims inthe 12th heat. Emily Kukors rounds out the Auburn swimmers in the event as she will swim in the 14th and final heat.
Action continues with the men's 200m butterfly. Andrew Mitchell and former Tiger Andrew Callahan will swim against each other in the fourth heat as Will Dove follows in the fifth heat. Mark Johnson will swim the eighth heat, followed by Tyler McGill in the ninth. Robert Looney, the No. 8 overall seed in the event, will swim the 10th heat with Logan Madson wrapping up the event, swimming in the 11th and final heat.
The preliminary session wraps up with the women's 200m individual medley. Erica Meissner, who surprised everyone on Monday by making the semis in the 100m back after being seeded 115th, will lead the event off in the first heat. Auburn signee Kelsey Winters will follow in the third heat.
The remaining Auburn swimmers in the event are grouped in the final four heats. Melanie Roberts leads off in the 12th heat while Ewing and Kukors set up to race each other in the 13th heat. Ewing will swim in lane one with Kukors just a few feet over in lane three. Former Tiger Julie Stupp follows in the 14th heat as No. 7 overall seed Ava Ohlgren wraps up the session in the 15th and final heat. Ohlgren will swim in lane three, right next to top seed Natalie Coughlin.
Day 5 (July 1): Third Day of Swimming
ANOTHER OLYMPIAN: Huntsville native and Auburn alum Margaret Hoelzer became the 10th current or former Auburn swimmer to make an Olympic team Tuesday night as she swam a 59.21 to finish second in the women's 100m backstroke at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. Hoelzer finished second to Natalie Coughlin in the race. Coughlin set a new world record with a 58.97, breaking her own world record of 59.03.
For Hoelzer, who was not expected to finish in the top two, her personal-best 59.21 marks just the second time in her career to break a minute in the event. The first time came on Monday as she swam a 59.79 in the semifinal.
Hoelzer makes her second Olympic team after making the 2004 team in the 200m backstroke. She becomes the first ever American Auburn female swimmer to make it to two Olympics and just the fifth American Auburn swimmer to make multiple Olympic Games.
Hoelzer entered the event as the No. 3 seed and was picked to finish behind Coughlin and Hayley McGregory, both one-time world-record holders in the event. Hoelzer trailed both Coughlin and McGregory at the turn, but swam a blazing 29.96 in the second 50 meters, the fastest in the heat, to pass McGregory and earn a spot on the Olympic team.
Hoelzer still has her top event, the 200m backstroke, left to swim where she is the top overall seed and the American record holder. The preliminary in the 200m back is scheduled for Friday, July 4.
THE UNIVERSITY RACE: Auburn is now one of only three universities to have multiple swimmers make the U.S. Olympic team in 2008. So far, Texas leads the way with three total while Auburn and California have two each.
DAY 4 PRELIMS: Recent Auburn graduate gets the Tigers started in the Wednesday preliminaries, leading off in the sixth heat of the 100m freestyle. Tyler McGill follows in the eighth heat with Steve Scheren in the ninth. Joey Schneider and Doug Van Wie follow in the 10th and 13th, respectively, while short course world record holder Bryan Lundquist wraps up the event in the 15th and final heat. Lundquist will swim against Michael Phelps and Matt Grevers.
Next, in the women's 200m fly, Julianne McLane starts in the second heat, followed by Melanie Roberts in the third. Former Auburn swimmer Julie Stupp will swim in the ninth heat while Emily Kukors and Ava Ohlgren will swim against each other in the 12th heat. They will be on either side of the top seed with Ohlgren swimming in lane five and Kukors in lane three.
In the final event of the session, Adam Klein gets Auburn going in the sixth heat of the 200m breast. Auburn alum Eric Shanteau, along with former Tigers Jon Roberts and Andrew Callahan, will swim in the eighth heat. Mark Gangloff, who made the Olympic team in the 100m breast on Monday, will swim in the ninth and final heat against top seed Brendan Hansen.
Day 6 (July 2): Fourth Day of Swimming
By Maggie Bird
Today was the fourth day of this very exciting Olympic Trials. So many world records have already been broken, and I believe more are to come.
Probably the most thrilling event of the day was the men's 100 freestyle. The American Record was broken three different times and there was also a swim-off for eighth place.
Ava Ohlgren and Emily Kukors swam extremely well this evening in the 200 IM and 200 fly, respectively. Also Eric Shanteau and Mark Gangloff, former Auburn swimmers, did an awesome job in the semifinal of the 200 breaststroke.
I personally did not swim today; my first race was the 400 freestyle on Monday. I was very pleased with how I swam and am very excited for the rest of the week. My next race is the 800 freestyle on Friday. I have been relaxing for the past couple of days and trying to get ready to swim fast on Friday.
Everyone is enjoying their time in Omaha and excited to keep swimming fast!!!
DAY 5 PRELIMS: Seventeen current, former and future Auburn swimmers will return to action Thursday morning in the preliminaries for the women's 100m freestyle, men's 200m backstroke, women's 200m breaststroke and the men's 200m inividual medley.
Auburn signee Kelsey Winters and rising sophomore Caitlin Geary get things started in the 100m free as they will race each other in the fourth heat. Geary will be in lane five while Winters is in lane seven. Action continues with Emily Kukors in the 10th heat, followed by Ava Ohlgren in the 13. Ohlgren will race against American sprinting legend Dara Torres in her heat.
Kara Denby and Olympian Margaret Hoelzer will swim side-by-side in the 13th and final heat. Hoelzer will be in lane one while Denby swims in lane two.
Auburn signee Max Murphy will follow as he swims in the second heat of the 200m back. Kohlton Norys will go next in the fourth heat while James Wike and Doug Van Wie will swim in the seventh and final heat. Van Wie will be in lane six while Wike is in lane eight; both will swim against top seed Ryan Lochte in the event.
Next up is rising sophomore Melanie Roberts in the 10th heat of the 100m breaststroke. Abby MacGregor, the No. 10 seed in the event, and former Tiger Julie Stupp will swim in the 12th and final heat.
In the final event of the session, Logan Madson and former Tiger Andrew Callahan get things going in the first heat of the 200m IM. Next up will be Eric Shanteau, the No. 3 overall seed in the event, and James Wike in the ninth heat. Shanteau will be the top seed in the heat, swimming in lane four, while Wike will occupy lane six.
Rising sophomore Andrew Mitchell wraps up the morning for Auburn, swimming in the 10th heat.
Day 7 (July 3): Fifth Day of Swimming
By Robert Looney
Today was the fifth day of competition at the Trials and it keeps getting more incredible.
Forty-one years old and still kickin' it! Dara Torres competed in her first event of the meet, the 100 free. From the veteran Torres qualifying second for tomorrow's final in the 100 just behind American record-holder Natalie Coughlin to Nathan Adrian qualifying for the 4x100 free relay after getting into the championship final after competing in a swim-off for eight place the day was nothing short of amazing.
The morning heats consisted of the women's 100 free, men's 200 back, women's 200 breast, and men's 200 IM. Tonight Kara Denby swam in the semis for the 100 free along with former Tiger Margaret Hoelzer. In the men's 200 breast final Eric Shanteau qualified for the Olympic team when he placed second in the event, beating American record-holder Brendan Hansen en route. Another former Tiger, Doug Van Wie, competed in the semis in the 200 back.
There are three days left in the meet and it's starting to come to an end. As for me I have the 1500 free left on Saturday and it seems to be taking forever to get here!
The last day I competed was on Tuesday so I have been waiting around for quite a bit. Other swimmers are starting to finish with their swims, and I just wanted to give a shout out to Emily Kukors who announced her retirement tonight (not sure if I'm supposed to say that on the blog) and I would also like to recognize all the other Auburn Tigers: James Wike, Luke Weniger, Bryan Lundquist, Joey Schneider, Mark Johnson and Kara Denby that have continued their training for this Olympic Trials.
Whether they decide to retire after this meet or continue their careers, I just want to say it was great to have ya'll on deck this summer.
MAKE IT THREE: Former Auburn swimmer Eric Shanteau became the third Tiger to make the 2008 Olympic swimming team Thursday night as he finished second in the men's 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:10.36. He finished second to Scott Spann (2:09.97). Brendan Hansen, the favorite in the event, finished fourth in 2:11.37.
It is the first Olympic team for Shanteau, who finished his Auburn career in 2006 as an 11-time All-American. Shanteau is also the third former Tiger to make an Olympic team in 2008, following Mark Gangloff (100m breast) and Margaret Hoelzer (100m back).
The three Olympians so far in 2004 also ties the total from the 2004 Olympics where Auburn sent Gangloff, Hoelzer and Bryce Hunt to the Athens Games.
Day 8 (July 4): Independence Day
By Adam Klein
Well, it's the Fourth of July and I am finally done. While many of the Tigers have completed all their races, some have just begun to dabble in their respective "bread and butter" events.
The local weatherman has warned the city of Omaha to beware of a certain "Tyclone" threatening the area. Tyler "Tyclone" McGill swam an outstanding race this morning in the prelims, placing himself as the fifth seed in tonight's seminfinals. In tonight's semifinals, the "Tyclone" swam yet a faster time placing him as the fourth seed going into tomorrow night's final heat.
This personified natural disaster could wreak havoc on tomorrow night's final heat if they are not ready to show up when it's time to make it blow up. Tyclone McGill not only made an impression in his competition's minds with his phenomenal impression of a dolphin gliding through the water with ease, but he also made his mark as the fastest 100 meter butterflier in Auburn Swimming history.
Teammate Logan Madson also qualified for the semifinal tonight where he finished 16th overall. Jordan "Jornado" Anderson just missed making the semifinal tonight by just under three tenths of a second. (The storm that Ms. Kukors referred to in her blog was actually "Jornadoes" that touched down in the Omaha area and as a result, left parts of the Quest Center roof in shambles. Mr. Anderson has since been addressed and has learned to harness his destructive energy exclusively for the pool.) Also teammate, Luke Weniger finished 49th in his last true event of his swimming career.
Former Tigers Bryan Lundquist and Scott "Scotty-2-Hotty" Goodrich made it back tonight for the semifinals in the 50 freestyle. Bryan proved to have a little more fire in his flame when he beat Mr. 2-Hotty and qualified for the final heat of the 50 freestyle, which will take place tomorrow night.
Goodrich finished his season with a strong 12th place overall in the semifinal of the 50 freestyle. Lundquist will compete with the fastest swimmers in the world when he takes on two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Gary Hall, Jr. and American Record Holder Cullen Jones Saturday evening.
The Lady Tiger Backstrokers had a strong showing today in the 200 meter backstroke when three girls qualified for tonight's semifinals. Erica "Boston" Meissner may be in the Midwest and the 21st century, but "Boston" had a Tea Party of her own when she finished 10th overall with a blistering time of 2:12.38. The Tea Party was not a lonesome event with attendees Emile Ewing and Julianne McLane finishing 11th and 15th respectively in the semifinals. Other Lady Tiger Backstrokers swimming in the event were Margo McCawley (25th), Melissa Marik (45th), and Maggie Bird (75th).
The Lady Auburn Distance Crew wrapped up their week with the 800 meter freestyle. Maggie Bird soared to a 21st place finish, touching in a very speedy time of 8:45.81. Bird led the "Flying V" of Tigers consisting of Chelsea Haser, who placed 37th , and Micah Martindale, who hit the wall 47th.
I would like to shout-out to Denny Pursley who is truly a Grand Slam player. He has been working behind the scenes all week making sure that everything runs as smoothly as a Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's on a sunny Saturday morning. Denny may have a few years on Barry Bonds, but Mr. Pursley is quite a slugger for the Auburn University Swim Team.
Day 9 (July 5): Almost at the end
WORLD RECORD: Former Auburn swimmer Margaret Hoelzer got things started with a bang Saturday night as she set a new world record in the 200-meter backstroke. She posted a time of 2:06.09, breaking the record held by her former teammate Kirsty Coventry (2:06.39), an Olympian from Zimbabwe.
The world record is the first for Hoelzer, who already owned the American record in the event. She set the record as she won the 200m back final at the Olympic Trials, securing her spot on the Olympic team in both the 100m and 200m backstroke.
By making the team in a second event, she becomes the first Auburn American female swimmer ever to make the Olympics in two different events. Also, by virtue of her Olympic appearance in 2004, she is the first Auburn American female swimmer to make two separate Olympics.