They did it!
The three Olympic hopeful swimmers featured on HTE a few months ago … all made the U.S. Olympic team! The high stakes trials were held over the weekend in Omaha, Nebraska.
For Anthony Ervin it came down to one nail-biting, nerve wracking race last night.
Anthony Ervin, you may remember, is the swimmer who won a gold medal at the Olympics in 2000 in the 50 meter freestyle. That’s one length of the pool, an all out sprint. He was the next big hope but baffled everyone by quitting swimming instead. Then he sold his gold medal on eBay to help others. He came back to the sport just months ago after a decade off, and swam so surprisingly well that it looked like he could make a comeback. Still, it’s 12 years since his last Olympics, and at 31 years old he’s at the older end.
Only the top two finishers in the race would represent the U.S. at the Olympics next month. But he’d done amazingly well in the qualifying events leading up to the final so his chances were good. He’d beaten everyone else in the earlier qualifying rounds. He’d beaten his own time that earned him his Olympic gold medal! And he’d clocked the 3rd fastest time in the world this year, according to reports.
In a race that’s won and lost by the length of a fingernail, he came in second in the final … and made the team! The winner was a surprise underdog, Cullen Jones. The difference in their time was 1/100th of a second!
To watch the exciting race on NBC, click here .
In the interview afterwards, Anthony Ervin thanked the kids he’d taught swimming to as his source of inspiration.
Nathan Adrian, who you may remember, ripped his swimsuit open during a pre-Olympics race a few months ago and still beat Michael Phelps, came in third in the 50 meter freestyle (behind Cullen Jones and Anthony Ervin) so he missed his spot there, but he made the Olympic team in the 100 meter freestyle. He won a gold medal in the relay event four years ago at the Olympics and is getting his chance to represent the U.S. in an indivdual event. Go, Nathan! He did great, but he’s also always so quick to congratulate others.
To watch Nathan Adrian win the 100 m, click here .
HTE also featured Natalie Coughlin (pronounced Cog-lin), the 11-time Olympic medalist and one of the most decorated female swimmers of all time. It was a nail-biter for her too. She didn’t qualify in the backstroke event that won her back-to-back Olympic gold medals (in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing). She also missed qualifying in the 100 meter butterfly. It came down to one last race for her and she had to finish at least 6th in the 100 meter freestyle final. She finished 6th … and had she finished 18 hundredths of a second slower she would have come in 7th and not been going to the Olympics at all! Phew!
Her great attitude was on display too. After the disappointment of missing two chances to make the team and having only one left she said, “It’s super exciting for the people making the team, but there is so much stress and anxiety in the air, and I just want people to enjoy it as much as possible and just give their personal best, and that’s what I’m doing. Life will go on. That’s why you don’t see me freaking out.” Still, we are so happy she made it.
To watch Natalie Coughlin make the time, you can click here to see NBC’s video .
Congratulations to Natalie, Nathan, and Anthony!