Keller, Vendt Qualify For 2008 Olympics
July 1, 2008
Former Trojan NCAA title-winning teammates Klete Keller (1:46.20) and Erik Vendt (1:46.95) secured spots on their third Olympic squads by finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, in the final of the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday (July 1) at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
While only the first and second place finishers qualify for the Olympics as individuals, the top six finishers in both the 100m and 200m free qualify as relay participants. Keller is among American's most grizzled relay veterans. He was part of the 2007 world record effort in the 4x200m free relay at the World Championships as well as the gold-medal winning effort in the event at the 2004 Olympics when the U.S. upset Australia.
Vendt is a two-time 400-meter IM Olympic silver medalist and has swum the 1500m free as well, but this is the first time he has qualified in the shorter distance.
Larsen Jensen, another former Trojan NCAA title winner who already qualified for the Olympics in the 400m free, finished eighth in the 200m free (1:47.71).
USC senior Rebecca Soni finished fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke final, missing out on her first chance to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic squad. The Trojan Swim Club's Jessica Hardy was first (1:06.87) while Megan Jendrick (1:07.50) out-touched Tara Kirk (1:07.51) for the second Olympic spot. Soni finished in 1:07.80, unable to duplicate her two sub 1:07 times from the prelims and semifinals.
Soni, however, gets another chance to qualify for the Beijing Olympics starting on Thursday, when the 200m breast begins. She is the top seed in the race.
Former Trojan All-American Hayley McGregory, who briefly held the world record in the 100-meter backstroke during the prelims of the event on Monday, was overtaken during the stretch run of the final on Tuesday, dropping to third place.
Natalie Coughlin won the race as she reset her world record to 58.97. Margaret Hoelzer, a 2004 Olympian, passed McGregory to take second in 59.21 while McGregory finished third (59.42). Hoelzer's back half of the race was by far the fastest of the field and enough to erase McGregory's 0.78 second lead on her at the halfway point.