Trojan Olympic Swim Hopefuls Set For Trials

July 6, 2004

It is hard to believe that Lenny Krayzelburg's Olympic Speedo swimsuit and swim cap (both of which bore his autograph) have been featured in Heritage Hall for almost four years.

Actually, the suit he wore during the 2000 Olympics, where he won three gold medals, was removed recently to make room for other items. There has been so much success -- so many things won - recently at USC that the price of real estate on the cardinal carpet covering the Heritage Hall lobby is rather steep and hard to come by.

Krayzelburg's mementos from Sydney had close to 48 good months in the SC spotlight, but it was time to make way for something new.


NBC will broadcast live coverage on Friday (July 9) and Sunday (July 11) from 5-6 p.m. (PT) both nights and will air taped delayed coverage on July 18 from 1-3 p.m. (PT).

For live results, visit: Omega Timing and click on the U.S. Olympic Team Trials link.

Starting on Wednesday (July 7), Krayzelburg and 19 other current, former and incoming Trojans - and even one former coach - will get a chance to be part of that 'something new' and lay claim to some future trophy time down the road.

The 2004 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, which run from July 7-14 in Long Beach, will feature more than 700 swimmers, all vying for the right to represent the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, in August (13-29).

Only 52 swimmers will make the team - just the top two finishers in each event and a handful more for relays. But in that mix are a strong core of Trojans who, truth be told, have their sights set a little higher right now than trophy space inside the athletic department.

But first, you have to make the team.

Of the 20 Trojans who will mix sweat with chlorine in the Charter All Digital Aquatic Centre in front of an anticipated 10,000 fans a day in Long Beach, five were Olympians in 2000 and seven have legitimate chances of making the team in 2004.

Krayzelburg, who dominated the backstroke events in 2000, and Lindsay Benko, part of USA's winning 800m free relay, are USC's two returning gold medal winners. Klete Keller won a silver on the 800m free relay and a bronze in the 400m free, Erik Vendt won a silver in the 400m IM while senior Kaitlin Sandeno won bronze in the 800m free.

All are strong candidates to make the U.S. team again. Joining them with almost-in-their-grasp hopes are USC sophomores Larsen Jensen and Kayln Keller, both long-distance specialists.

Sandeno is qualified in an amazing six events and she has swum so well for the past 12 months, she is seemingly a threat to finish among the top two in any of her races. She enters the meet seeded second in the 200m IM and third in the 400m IM, 200m fly and 800m free. She will battle former Auburn star Maggie Bowen, among others, in both medleys with Olympic medallist Amanda Beard challenging in the 200m IM and 15-year old Katie Hoff offering trouble in the 400m IM. Among her rivals in the 800m free will be teammate Kayln Keller, seeded right behind Sandeno in fourth.


Kalyn Keller


Kalyn Keller is also seeded fourth in the 400m free and will have to deal with the 2000 Olympic gold and silver medallists in the event in Brooke Bennett and Diana Munz, respectively, as well as Benko (seeded second), up-and-comer Elizabeth Hill (seeded third) and Sandeno (fifth).

Vendt, one of the hardest workers in the sport, has a good - though not easy - chance to repeat as a member of the U.S. team in both the 400m IM and 1500m free. He is seeded second in the 400m medley behind U.S. superstar Michael Phelps, the world record holder in the event. Seeded third behind Vendt is veteran Tom Wilkens, who Vendt edged in 2000. Vendt is also seeded second in the mile, less than half of a second behind top qualifier and fellow Trojan Jensen. With third-seeded and American record holder Chris Thompson out with an injury, Vendt and Jensen are both favorites to make the team.

In addition to swimming the mile, Jensen, who took the spring semester off of school to concentrate on training for the Olympic Trials, is seeded fourth in the 400m free. In that race, he will run into, among others top-seeded Klete Keller. Seeded second is Robert Margalis, who is also a threat in the 400m IM and the 1500m free.

Keller, in his efforts to make his second straight Olympic team, will also swim the 200m free and enters the race seeded second behind, who else, Phelps. Former Texas Longhorn Nate Dusing and 31-year old Josh Davis are among a talented group that figure to make the 200m free a nail-biting event.

Benko, the American record holder in the 200m free, is the top seed in the event and a seven-time U.S. champ in the distance. She is also the 2003 world champion in the 400m free, where she'll challenge Trojans Sandeno and Kalyn Keller. Benko is also seeded fourth in the 100m free.

Krayzelburg, one of the biggest U.S. stories of the 2000 Games, has battled injuries since 2001 and has gone from the hunted to the hunter in the backstroke. Aaron Peirsol has broken Krayzelburg's world record in the 200m back, but Krayzelburg still owns the WR in the 100m back and considers the event his best chance to make the team this year. He enters the meet with the second-fastest seed time in the 100m and the third-fastest in the 200m back. The latter will indeed be a challenge with both Peirsol and Phelps coming in as the top two seeds.

Recently graduated Trent Staley enters the Trials as eighth fastest in the 200m back and he'll also swim in the 100m back and the 400m free.

Senior Paul Fahey is seeded 14th in the 400m IM and 25th in the 200m IM while senior Marisa Kozak is slated to compete in the 100m and 200m back and the 100m fly. Junior Tyler Storie is set to race in the mile.

Former Trojan John Abercrombie is seeded ninth in both fly events while USC grad Michala Kwasny is seeded ninth in the 200m IM and 18th in both the 200m fly and 400m IM.

Other former Trojans scheduled to race are Mark Warkentin (200m free), Erik Tolmachoff (200m fly), Gabe Woodward (50m and 100m free) and David Ringe (100m and 200m fly).

And then there's former USC coach Erika Hansen, a 1988 and 1992 Olympian who has trained for the last year for one more shot (racing in the 400m free).

Two incoming recruiting will also swim (but NCAA rules prohibit posting their names).

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