July 7, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. - The UC Santa Barbara swimmers wrapped up action at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Saturday evening with junior Anne Marie May's swim in the 50-meter freestyle semifinals. During the eight-day event, 13 current Gauchos and two alums swam a total of 29 races and a former UCSB swimmer Jason Lezak qualified for his third Olympic team.
On Thursday evening, senior Katy Freeman, who made her first ever appearance in the Olympic Trials this year, placed 10th in the 200 breaststroke semifinal with a time of 2:29.49, topping her mark of 2:31.34 from that morning's preliminary swim.
The same evening, former Gaucho Jason Lezak qualified for the 2008 Olympics in the 100-yard freestyle after placing second in the event's finals with a time of 48.05. He had set the American record in the event the previous day, touching the wall in 47.58 during his semifinal race. His trip to Beijing will mark his third Olympic appearance; he won gold medals at both the 2000 and 2004 games.
On Friday, Lezak and current Gaucho Bradley Matsumoto each competed in the 50-meter free. Matsumoto finished 94th overall with a time of 23.58 in the prelims while Lezak placed fifth in Saturday's final with a mark of 21.98.
The men's 100 butterfly was also on Friday and had plenty of Santa Barbara representation. Pat Cary, a 2007 graduate, took 27th in the prelims, touching the wall in 53.99 seconds. Chris Wiggin placed 77th with a time of 55.44 while Danny McClary took 93rd with a time of 55.84.
On Saturday, Anne Marie May qualified for the 50 free semifinals after tying for 12th place with a mark of 25.52, the 54th best time in the world. That evening she finished 14th with a time of 25.54 in the event's semifinals.
During the eight-day trials, the Gauchos had a 70% improvement in their times, meaning that 70% of their marks were lifetime bests. According to head coach Gregg Wilson, the average improvement for teams at the Olympic Trials is 40-50%.
A total of 21 Big West athletes competed at the trials including UCSB's 13 participants.