COLLEGE STATION—The Texas A&M swimming program will have 19 current, future, and former athletes compete at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials that begins Sunday at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
Six men and 13 women will compete at the Olympic trials after achieving considerably swift qualifying standards established by USA Swimming in August of 2005. The top two athletes in each race will earn spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team while the top six finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles will earn relay spots.
On the men’s side, senior Ozzie Gardner (Kearns, Utah), 50 and 100 freestyle; junior Brad Raiford (Kingwood) 50 freestyle; and sophomores Casey Strange (Houston) 50 freestyle; and Tyler Welch (Austin), 100 butterfly; have all earned the right to swim in arguably the fastest swim meet in the world this week. Former team members Ryan Latone (Austin), 200 free; and Scott Newmann (Duncanville), 100 fly and 100 free; will also compete.
The Aggie women will have an all-time best 11 swimmers from the current team competing at the trials. Those scheduled to compete will be Melissa Hain (Kingwood), 200 IM, 400 IM; Codie Hansen (Arlington), 100, 200, 400 free; Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.), 200 back, 200 free; Marissa Jasek (San Antonio), 50 free; Erin Mahoney (Wichita, Kan.), 200 free, 200 IM; Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.), 100, 200 free; Caroline Maxvill (Dallas), 200 breast; Emily Neal (Plano), 100, 200 back, 400 IM; Maria Sommer (Brenham), 50 free; Jenni Stratton (Portland), 200 IM, and Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.), 50, 100 free.
Two of A&M’s female signees have also qualified for the U.S. trials. Incoming freshmen Lauren Clifford (Pollock Pines, Calif.) and Megan Latone (Austin) will swim the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke, respectively.
Three Aggie women have already qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games. Triin Aljand, Alia Atkinson, and Julia Wilkinson have qualified to represent Estonia, Jamaica, and Canada, respectively, in Beijing.
The U.S. Olympic Trials will run from June 29 through July 6. The trials will be televised nationally each night from 7-8 p.m. CST. They will be aired on NBC on June 29 and July 4-6 and on the USA Network from June 30-July 3.