Men's Swimming sends five to finals on Thursday
June 28, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. -- Thursday night was a big night for Texas Men's Swimming as they sent five individuals on to the finals in two different events.
Four Longhorns made the final eight in the first event of the night, the 100 freestyle. Jimmy Feigen, Ricky Berens, Garrett Weber-Gale and David Walters will all swim for a chance at trying to make the Olympic team in the event.
"It is huge," said Berens. "The more burnt orange the better. Garrett was a senior when I was a freshman and Jimmy and I are really close friends. It would be great to put us all on the relay together. We love being around each other and are all good friends."
Feigen and Weber-Gale were in the first of two heats. Feigen got out to a good start off the blocks and was right with the leader, Nathan Adrian, the entire race.
"I dove in and right off the bat I saw I was right with (Nathan) Adrian," said Feigen. "He started to pick it up a little bit so I followed suit. I tried to stay relatively close to him and when I hit the wall I was still right with him. I knew nobody was going to catch me from there in the final 50."
Feigen recorded a time of 48.48 which was quite a bit better than his prelims swim of 49.29. He goes into the finals with the second best time and will earn one of the two middle lanes in the pool.
"It is my best time by quite a bit so that is great news," said Feigen. "It is right where I want to be. It is pretty intense and I can't even describe to you what going into a race like that is like."
Weber-Gale was also right there among the best in the first heat. He posted a time of 48.98 to be one of the seven swimmers under 49.0 in the semifinals. Weber-Gale won the event at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
"My race wasn't too great but I get to swim again," said Weber-Gale. "With every swim I usually get better. Coming in to a meet, the more I do speed work, i.e. racing, the better I get. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and I can get in the mix with the top guys."
Berens swam in the second heat. Just like he did last night in the 200 freestyle finals, Berens roasted the final 50 meters. His split of 25.0 was the fastest of the evening as he finished second in the heat and fourth overall with a time of 48.85.
"Coming in to this year the 100 free was a pretty big focus," said Berens. "I would love to make it in this event but to be going into the finals in fourth is fun. It is a tough field in the 100 and was a tough field in the 200. Everybody had to put in a real good effort in order to make it to the finals."
Walters had the 10th best time in the semifinals and looked like he would not swim again in the event. However, scratches by Ryan Lochte and Matt Grevers allowed Walters to gain the eighth and final spot. Walters had a time of 49.34 in the semifinals.
Berens has already made the Olympic team as part of the 800 freestyle relay. Also on the Olympic team already is Brendan Hansen. Like Berens, Hansen is attempting to add a second event to his lineup in London as he made the finals in the 200 breaststroke.
"I want to swim as much as I possibly can in London," said Hansen. "I want the 200. If there is a chance for me to medal for me in London the 200 is the better shot for me because of how I train and how I race. I watched it in Beijing and I don't want to do that again. The pressure is on and I am shaping up to swim fast."
Hansen looked strong in his semifinal race, leading by a near body length after the 150 meters mark. He got out to a fast start with a split of 29.49 on his first 50 meters. He continued to cruise until the last stretch when he was passed by Clark Burckle and Eric Shanteau.
"You really want to slam the hammer down and go but then you realize that you are in the semifinal," said Hansen. "It doesn't have that final feel yet but you have to just keep getting faster each swim."
Burckle has recorded the top time in both the prelims and semifinals while Shanteau finished second to Hansen in the 100 breaststroke the other night.
"It is going to shape up to be a good final tomorrow night," said Hansen. "I know hard I worked and know what I have left in the tank. I took control of the race early tonight and let it go. It will be a different story tomorrow night."
Eric Friedland just missed out on his spot in the finals as he was one place away. He swam a personal best time of 2:12.15 and improved his time by over one second from prelims. However, he was 0.15 seconds away from the eighth and final spot.
Friday's schedule includes the finals of the 100 freestyle and 200 breaststroke events as well as the semifinals of the 200 backstroke and 200 IM. The finals start at 6:45 p.m. and will be televised on NBC. The prelims of the 200 back and 200 IM will take place at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Longhorns in 2012 Olympics
Thursday, June 28
100 Freestyle (165 swimmers)