The United States Olympic swim team took shape on the final night of the trials. The oldest competitor on the women's side, Dara Torres, didn't make the squad. The men's team added its youngest members, 1,500-meter freestylers Andrew Gemmell and Connor Jaeger. University of Texas men's coach Eddie Reese was named as an assistant men's coach. And Michael Phelps subtracted an event, the 200 freeststyle, from his demanding program.
Phelps' withdrawal allowed former Longhorn Ricky Berens to add that race, his first individual event in the Olympics.
"I found out on Twitter," Berens said. "I was just hanging out I my room. I didn't have anything to do today and was just flipping through."
He saw a tweet from Phelps' coach Bob Bowman that Phelps would be trying to conserve some energy for the relays and thought, "What's up with that?"
He read more and then turned to roommate Eric Shanteau and exclaimed, "Dude, I think I'm swimming the 200 free in the Olympics."
In the pool Monday Jessica Hardy won the women's 50 freestyle in 24.50 seconds after taking the 100 freestyle earlier in the meet. Hardy somehow found a freestyle stroke just as she was losing her world-record-setting breaststroke form.
"Freestyler all the time now," Hardy laughed after her latest win. "I'm surprised and I'm really stoked."
Kara Lynn Joyce took second.
Most eyes, however, were on 45-year-old Dara Torres to see if she could make a sixth Olympic team. She couldn't, finishing fourth in 24.82. She won't try again and said, "I was really happy with how I did. I was able to hang in there for three events, three races. That's it. I'm going to enjoy some time with my daughter and cheer on the U.S. team from afar."
In contrast to track, where 1,500-meter runners tend to be veterans, the 1,500 men's final was the youngest one of the trials on the men's side and the top two finishers are both 21.
Phelps, meanwhile, just turned 27 and doesn't recover as quickly as he did four years ago. He is the defending Olympic champion in the 200 freestyle and coach Bob Bowman said he liked Phelps' chances in that event in London. But both Bowman and Phelps concluded he would be spreading himself too thin and would be better off concentrating on the relays. After a quick meeting they decided to drop the 200 freestyle, which means Phelps will not attempt to duplicate his feat in Beijing, where he won a record eight gold medals.
Bowman explained, "After we saw here what he did, which was quite good, we realized that the level he did here will not be acceptable to win gold medals in London in most of the events. Also, we're going to be adding the relays to what he did here. We also know that it's going to take everything we've got to be competitive in the relays, especially the 4 x 100relay."
Bowman said the scratch would end all talk about Phelps going for another eight golds.
"No one should be expected to do that twice," Bowman said.
When asked what the scratch of Phelps meant for the U.S. Olympic team, men's coach Gregg Troy said, "It means Ricky Berens is going to go real fast."
Earlier in the meet Berens had joked that the U.S. Olympic trials confirmed that he was a relay swimmer. He made both the 400 and 800 freestyle relay teams here. He finished third in the 200 freestyle, behind Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and moved up with the withdrawal of Phelps.
Berens is an Olympic gold medalist. He was part of the record-setting 800 freestyle relay team in Beijing.
Reese has been the head men's Olympic coach three times, in 1992, 2004 and 2008. He has been an assistant coach in 1988, 1996 and 2000.
Both Troy and women's coach Teri McKeever seemed pleased with the squads even though both will rely heavily on a few swimmers. Although she'll have help from freestyler Allison Schmitt, breaststroker Rebecca Soni and 400 individual medley swimmer Elizabeth Beisel, a big load will fall on Colorado teenager Missy Franklin.
Women's coach Teri McKeever said, "I think she's proven that she can handle the highest pressure with her performance."
Troy said that, if anything, the closeness of the trials to the Olympics could be an advantage. Troy said, "I'm comfortable with our trials being late because right now the rest of the world has to wonder if they can get there again. We know where we are at."
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