MEN’S ARCHERY – Wunderle Qualifies 41st; USA Qualifies 10th
Aggie Vic Wunderle qualified 41st in the individual ranking portion of the men’s archery competition at Olympic Green Archery Field. Wunderle, who won the individual Olympic silver medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney, shot a score of 652, 27 points behind top qualifier Juan Rene Serrano of Mexico.
Wunderle will face Serrano’s teammate, Eduardo Velez, in the opening round of the single-elimination individual tournament on Wednesday. Velez qualified 24th with a score of 660.
The other two Americans, Brady Ellison and Butch Johnson, qualified 15th (664) and 40th (653), respectively.
The Americans ranked 10th in the team qualifying portion of the competition with a score of 1,969. South Korea, the world most dominant country in archery, expectedly took the top spot with a score of 2,015.
The U.S. will face No. 7 seed Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) in the first round of the team tournament with the winner taking on second-seeded Ukraine. The entire men’s team tournament will start and finish on Monday.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING – Aljand, Canadian Relay Achieve National Records
Two Aggies were in action during day one of the swimming competition with both earning lifetime-best performances and new national records.
Julia Wilkinson led the Canadian 400-meter freestyle relay team to a two new national records within 24 hours. During prelims, Wilkinson swam with the fifth-fastest lead-off split in the 16-team field to help get her country into the championship final. Wilkinson’s 100 free split of 54.48 smashed her prior lifetime best of 55.02 set last month in winning Canadian nationals.
During prelims, the Canadians were in an exact tie with the United States at the halfway point of the second of two heats thanks to Wilkinson and 100-meter national record holder Erica Morningstar. They entered the championship final ranked seventh at 3:38.82.
On Saturday evening (U.S. time), Wilkinson was even faster, dropping her lifetime-best to 54.33 which ended up as the fastest split on the Canadian team. Wilkinson and her countrywomen took eighth place in the championship final, setting a second Canadian record in as many days at 3:38.32.
Wilkinson now has her name on four Canadian national records (50 and 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle, and 400 freestyle relay).
Aggie junior Triin Aljand won the second of seven heats in the 100-meter butterfly, going under the one minute mark for the first time in her career and setting a new Estonian national record. Aljand’s time of 59.43 ranked 32nd in the field.
Saturday proved a banner day not only for Estonia but for the Aljand household as well as Triin’s brother Martti set a new national record in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke.
A&M women’s swimming head coach Steve Bultman is in Beijing as an assistant coach with the Estonian team.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL – USA 3, JAPAN 1
The U.S. women’s volleyball team started their Olympic run on the right foot despite a dark shadow being cast over the match after the stabbing death of a former player’s (Elisabeth Bachman McCutcheon) father at a tourist site in Beijing.
The incident struck home for each of the players, including Aggie Stacy Sykora.
“You have to understand what Liz Bachman is to USA Volleyball. She's probably the nicest person in the entire world, her and her family," Sykora said. "Her family is like our family because they traveled with us, she fought in the 2004 Olympics with us, she was my roommate in 2004."
With heavy hearts, the Americans won their opening round match against Japan 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21) at the Capital Indoor Stadium. Sykora came off the bench in the second and fourth sets to help spark the Americans to victory.
The Americans did get an enthusiastic welcome from the Chinese crowd, thanks in part to the presence of U.S. Head Coach Jenny Lang Ping who was a star on the Chinese team that won gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
With the win, the U.S. moves to 1-0 in Pool A play. In other Pool A matches, host China completely dominated Venezuela 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-18) while Cuba beat Poland 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17).