SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On June 25, the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials will begin in Omaha, Nebraska, and UCSB will make its presence felt. Sixteen Gauchos will compete in the trials, which end on July 1, as they try to bring a little Santa Barbara sunshine to London for the 2012 Olympics.
Gauchos of all experience levels will compete in the trials. Freshmen Katie Records and Chris Leonwill compete in the 200 meter breaststroke, while Bob Hwang will race in the 200 meter butterfly. Sophomores Andrea Ward and Sophia Yamauchi, who were both named as Mid-Major All-Americans this season, will compete in the 100 meter butterfly and the 100 meter breaststroke, respectively, while fellow sophomore Randy Aakhus will swim in the 400 IM. For the juniors, Katie Tomkinson will enter the 100 meter freestyle and Ryan Hanni will swim in the 50 meter freestyle as well as the 100 free. The senior class, now graduated, will send Evan Simoni (200 IM), Chris Peterson (50 and 100 free), Kevin Kuhn (100 free and 50 free), Tim Freeman (100 and 200 meter breaststroke), Garrett Thompson (50 and 200 free) and Kevin Ferguson (100 free and 100 breaststroke).
Three Gauchos alums will also be in attendance at the trials. Katy Freeman, a 2009 graduate, will compete in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke. During her time at UCSB she was named the Big West Freshman of the Year and as a senior garnered First Team All-American honors. Ann Marie May swam in the 2010 NCAA Championships and was ranked first in the nation in the 50-meter freestyle earlier that year. While she swam for UCSB she was a two-time All-American and broke UCSB records 43 times and Big West records 17 times. She placed fourteenth in the 50 free at the 2008 Olympic Trials and will compete in that same event in the upcoming trials.
UCSB will also be represented by Olympic gold medalist and 1999 UCSB alum Jason Lezak, who is perhaps best known for chasing down Frenchman Alain Bernard in the Beijing Olympics to preserve Michaels Phelps' chances of winning eight gold medals. He has four gold medals of his own and has competed in three Olympics prior to the upcoming London games. He currently owns long-course world records in the 400 meter freestyle and medley relays. He will compete in the 100 and 50 meter freestyle races at the upcoming trials.