Four Trojans Qualify For U.S. Olympic Team On First Day Of Trials

July 7, 2004

USC's Erik Vendt, Klete Keller, Larsen Jensen and Kaitlin Sandeno all qualified for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team in the meet's first finals sessions in the late afternoon on Wednesday (July 7) in Long Beach.

Six swimmers qualified for the team on Day One and two thirds of those spots went to Trojans. Virtually swimming in their backyard, about 30 miles outside of campus, they seemed quite at home in the open waters of Long Beach's Charter All Digital Aquatic Centre.

Vendt, who finished at USC in 2003, was the first Trojan to earn a spot on the team in the 400m IM. Michael Phelps broke his own world record in the event in 4:08.41, while Vendt secured his second straight Olympic berth by taking second in 4:14.09. Eric Shanteau was third in 4:15.08 while Ryan Lochte, who qualified second in the morning, finished fourth in 4:18.46. Trojan senior Paul Fahey, making his Olympic Trials final debut, was eighth in 4:29.18.

Vendt, swimming in lane three and to the right of Phelps, Lochte and Shanteau, was in third after the first 100 meters of backstroke behind Phelps and Lochte. After another 100 meters of butterfly, Vendt was still in third but trailed second-place Lochte by only 0.56.

Vendt then blasted his breaststroke, racing into second place by more than a second after 250 and taking a 1.09 lead over Shanteau into the final 100 meters of freestyle. From there, he held off a charging Shanteau, losing a fraction of his lead after 350, but maintaining a 0.99 lead as he touched the wall.

Keller, an All-American and NCAA Champion at USC in 2001 and 2002, and Jensen, a first-year Trojan, ran away with the 400m freestyle. Keller won the event in 4:44.19, shattering Phelps' American record in the event (3:46.73) by 2.54 seconds. Jensen also went under the previous U.S. standard, touching in 3:46.56.

Keller led wire-to-wire in a dominant performance, winning the 400m free at the U.S. Trials for the second consecutive time. He won bronze in the event at the 2000 Olympics. Jensen, a sophomore-to-be who took the Spring semester off of school to concentrate on training for the Trials, was in sixth after 100 meters and third after 150. But he took over second place after 200 meters, held more than a second lead on third-place finisher Peter Vanderkaay after 300 meters and then swam the fastest final 100 meters of anyone, clocking a 56.00 to close a bit on Keller and go under Phelps' old record.

Sandeno, a senior-to-be, earned her second straight Olympic jacket by taking second in the 400m IM in 4:40.39, a personal best. Fifteen-year old Katie Hoff was first in 4:37.67. Sandeno actually led the race for the first 250 meters, but Hoff charged late and overtook Sandeno by more than a second after 300 meters.

While Hoff stretched her lead, Sandeno did the same to eventual third-place finisher Kristen Caverly, finishing comfortably ahead of her by more than two seconds.



Other Trojan finishers - Junior Marisa Kozak finished 26th out of 73 entered in the 100m fly, clocking a 1:02.10. It took a 1:01.29 to qualify for the semifinals.

Recently graduated senior Trent Staley finished 21st in the 400m free in 4:01.61. Only the top eight qualified for the finals, with eighth place clocking in at 3:55.08.

Former Trojan Michala Kwasny took 47th out of 55 swimmers in the women's 400m IM, finishing in 4:42.64.

There will be plenty of Trojan action on Thursday (July 8) with Sandeno, Lindsay Benko and Kayln Keller going in the 400m freestyle, Lenny Krazyelburg vying for a spot in the 100m back and Klete Keller beginning the quest for his second berth in the 200m free.

The Trials continue through July 13 with prelims beginning at 9 a.m. and finals starting at 5 p.m. each day (PDT). You can get complete results and following each race live at www.omegatiming.com

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