2012 U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials Preview
June 22, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. - After months and in some cases years of training, the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials are just days away and a total of five former, current and future Kansas swimmers will be in the pool at the CenturyLink Century in Omaha.
The trials stretch from June 25 - July 2, and give swimmers the opportunity to make their Olympic dreams come true. Out of the dozens of athletes who will be competing, there are five with Kansas ties. Among them is senior to be Brooke Brull and graduated senior Stephanie Payne, as well as former Jayhawk standout Danielle Herrmann (2005-09). Like Herrmann, Payne has wrapped up her Crimson and Blue career and the pair will most likely be competing in their final meet together in Omaha.
While a couple of Kansas careers wind down, another two will be just starting up as Chelsie Miller and Haley Molden will be incoming KU freshmen and will both be in the water at Trials. Miller leads all Jayhawk swimmers with a total of three trial cuts, while Molden enters competition in Omaha with lots of momentum, having broken two Kansas state records and earning four gold medals at her state championship meet last month.
"Our athletes are going there and being really focused on getting best times and letting the chips fall where they may," said KU head coach Clark Campbell. "There is no meet like this in the world, so you have to be really intent on getting your job done whether it is warming up, cooling down or during the race itself."
"Other than the Olympics this is the premiere swimming event in the world and it's only once every four years," Campbell explained. "What I have asked our athletes to do is just enjoy the moment and soak it in because each of them has worked really hard to get to this point."
Below is a breakdown of each Kansas swimmer competing in the Olympic Trials and Coach Campbell's take on their potential performances.
Road to Omaha: Brull experienced her breakout weekend in the pool during sectionals this past March in Jenks, Okla., as she swam to a first-place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 2:19.00. Her fast finish earned her the title of Region 8 Central Sectional Champion for swimming. Not satisfied with a lone event to compete in during Trials, the future team captain earned another Trial cut the next morning, during preliminaries of the 200 Back. That's where she would beat out a total of 114 competitors to finish in first place with a time of 2:15.75, surpassing the Trials qualifying time by more than two full seconds (2:17.99).
Road to Omaha: Payne first punched her ticket to Trials in July 2011 at the University of Missouri. That is where the outgoing team captain made a splash in the 200 Fly, finishing with a 2:16.39 time as Kansas Aquatics swam away with first place honors for the weekend.
Just two weeks later in Palo Alto, Calif., at Nationals, Payne would add another trials cut to her resume. This time it came in during the preliminaries of the 400 IM, where she finished with a time of 4:51.46 and became the second KU swimmer with a pair of Trial berths.
Coach Campbell on Payne: "The tune-up we did in Omaha two weeks ago (at the Swimvitational) really helped. She went up there, swam great and will be more comfortable this time around. She has had excellent training and I think is going to do really, really well."
Road to Omaha: Herrmann was the very first KU student-athlete to earn an Olympic Trial cut as she knew she would be headed to Omaha following her performance during the 2011 spring Sectionals in Oklahoma City. The four-year KU standout and current volunteer assistant coach earned a 1:11.81 time in the 100 Breast, which gave her the first of two Olympic qualifying times. Her second came later that year at the Winter National Championships in Atlanta, Ga., where she earned a 2:18.72 time in the 200 IM.
Coach Campbell on Herrmann: "Danielle looks awesome and had a fantastic meet at the Swimvitational where she made the finals in the 200 Breast. She was really close to her lifetime best time without being tapered or shaved, so right now all we have to do is let her rest and get her freshened up because I think she is going to go really fast."
Road to Omaha: Miller will compete in three events and leads the KU corps with her trio of Trial cuts. The Houston, Texas, native earned a trip to Omaha because of her performance at 2011 Junior Nationals in Stanford, Calif., where she finished with a 4:55.80 time in the 400 IM, 2:19.05 in the 200 IM and a 2:35.71 finish in the 200 Breast. She will be at the meet competing for former KU assistant Clayton Cagle and his FLEET swim club out of the Houston area.
Coach Campbell on Miller: "Chelsie just had a tremendous summer last year where she got her three Trial cuts. She has been training really well during her senior year of high school, which is one of the more challenging years to focus because you have so much going on."
Road to Omaha: Molden is the final Olympic Trials qualifier in the group of incoming freshmen. The 2012 Washburn-Rural senior's 56.94 performance in the 100 Free at the 2012 Junior Nationals put her alongside her future teammate (Chelsie Miller) in Omaha. Molden also enters Trials competition with much momentum after having broken two Kansas state records and earning four gold medals during the state championship meet last month.
Coach Campbell on Molden: "She is a totally different athlete than from where she was one year ago. It is fun to see because she has really made a commitment to being the best athlete possible and you see it in the way she swims and the way she trains."
Olympic Trials Coverage: http://www.usaswimming.org/
Trials TV Schedule: http://www.nbcolympics.com