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March 11, 1996 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-11

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 11, 1996 - 78

Dolan and Piersma's riva
extends beyond the pool


Roommates earn Olympic berths in 400 freestyle

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Writer
Tom Dolan and John Piersma couldn't
have asked for a better finish in the 400-
meter freestyle. The Wolverine duo
walked away with the top two times and
places on the Olympic team in the event.
But besides being teammates on

America's team as
well as Michigan's,
the two are also
roommates at
school. It presents an
interesting scenario
for them when it
comes to competing
against one another.
"It's always fun
to race against each
other, knowing that


we're roommates and the top two
Americans," Piersma said. "Before we
were rivals, but right now it's special to
be on the team together."
rivalries are nothing new to sports, in-
cluding swimming. It's kind of strange
that during the Olympic trials, where
patriotism and team unity is paramount,
that there's a rivalry between fellow
Janet Evans, the world-record
holder, 1988 gold-medalist and 1992
silver-medalist in the 800 freestyle, had
her reign at the top of long-distance
swimmingended by 16-yearoldBrooke
Bennett last summer. After which, the
brash Bennett proclaimed herself the
"queen" of distance swimming..
However, age and maturity proved
stronger than youth and trash-talking at
the trials as Evans took first place in the
400 freestyle with a time of 4:10.97.

Bennett placed a distant fourth, almost
afull three seconds behind Evans' pace.
"I feel like I made a statement," Evans
said following her win. "I feel it is more
an image of everyone else because I
believe in myself and I knew I could
make the Olympic team, but the only
person I had to prove it to was myself."
Kristine Quance, considered to be a
lock for the Olympic team in the 400-
meter individual medley, was disquali-
fied in the preliminary round of the
event for a "technical rule violation"
concerning her transition from breast-
stroke to backstroke.
This wasn't the first time Quance
was unable to compete in this event at
the trials. In 1992, due to a six-
monthlong bout with mononucleosis,
Quance only had enough energy to
race in the 200 breaststroke which she
wound up qualifying for. But the 400
IM has always been her best event
and one that she would have loved to
compete in.
Following the disqualification,
Quance said, "This will be the biggest
test of my character, to see how I will
come back from this. It is the biggest
disappointment of my career."
Quance bounced back marvelously.
The following evening, she placed sec-
ond in the 100 breaststroke, securing a
spot for herself in Atlanta.
"What happened yesterday, definitely
motivated me," she said after her sec-
ond-place finish. "I watched the 400 IM
last night and knew I could do one of
two things: feel sorry formyselfandcry
or use it to make me mad.
"I proved to everyone and myself
what I can do and not have something
so devastating hold me back."

Folllowing his win in the 200-meter
freestyle, Piersma had to go throughthe
standard procedure of taking a drug test
by giving officials a urine sample. Rt
turned out to be not so easy.
It wound up taking Piersma until
11:30 p.m., over two hours. after the
conclusion of events, until he was able
to give a sufficient sample. The only
positive to come out of it was that
Piersma got to see his name painted on
the wall of Indiana University Natato-
rium later that evening with all of the.
other'past and future Olympians.
"It's always a gut-wrenching experi-
ence to have to pee on command,"
Piersma said
Wolverine Eric Namesnik second-
place finish to Dolan in the 400 IM
should have been reason to celebrate.
After all, "Snik" is on his way to At-
Well, Namesnik wasn't all hunky-
doory after the race.
"I got embarrassed," he said. "I was
out of it (the lead) after the first 50 of the
breaststroke, so my goal wasjust to stay
in second place.
"I'm very disappointed with my time
- 4:17 is a terrible time for me. I was
hoping to go a couple of seconds faster
in the final and make it more of a race:."
her victory in the 400-meter freestyle,
Evans qualified her third Olympic team
-a feat accomplished only three other
times in U.S. history.
She joins Jill Sterkel (1975, 1980,
1984 Olympics), Mary T. Meagher
(1980, 1984, 1988) and Dara Torres
(1984, 1988, 1992) in that exclusive

Continued from Page 1A

miedia and fan favorite of the meet has
fulfilled expectations so far.
He nearly broke his own world record
in the 400-meter individual medley -
Which hesetduring the 1994WorldCham-
pionships in Rome (4:12.30) - by win-
ningthe 400 IM (4:12.72) Thursday night.-
He also took first in the 400 freestyle
3:48.99) Saturday.
Piersma also qualified for two events.
He became the first Wolverine to make
the team by beating Josh Davis in the 200
freestyle (1:48.97) Wednesday.
Piersma fell to his teammate and room-
mate, Dolan, in the 400 freestyle Satur-
day. But his time (3:51.41) was good
enough for second in that event and an
Olympic berth.
"I only swam two events so I really
wanted to make it in both," Piersma said.
"Second place doesn't matter, but I know
I van go faster."
Namesnik wasn't as pleased with sec-
ond as Piersma. He was trounced by
Dolan in the 400 IM - Namesnik swam
it in four minutes, 17.19 seconds - and
he wasn't satisfiedeventhoughhis show-
ing made him an Olympian.
"I got embarrassed," Namesnik said.
"I'm very disappointed with my time ...
I'mjust going to put it behind me because
* on the team."
Malchow upset American record-
holder Mel Stewart in the 200 butterfly
Friday night, placing first (1:57.39).
Wunderlich came back fromheartbreak
lastnightto getthe spotonthe team he had
been seeking for the past 12 years.
Wednesday, Wunderlich finishedthird
(1.:02.39) in the event he was favored to
win - the 100 breaststroke. He was just

Continued from Page 18
"In the trials, first is first, second is
first, and third is last," said Mel
Stewart, the American record holder
in the 200 butterfly who finished third
in the event Saturday. "I finished
In terms of swimming, it doesn't
make sense.
"When you do your best time in
our sport, that's success," Urbanchek
said. "That's all you can expect. It
doesn't matter where you end up."
That philosophy doesn't hold for
those who don't get their names
painted on the wall with the Olympi-
ans. Bendel swam her lifetime best in
the preliminaries of the 100 freestyle
Wednesday, but she was devastated.
Her best was only good enough for
Michigan freshman Andy Potts
cruised to fourth place in the finals of
the 400 IM Thursday night, but he
couldn't have been too pleased. He
was fourth among athletes that train
in his home pool. Michigan junior
Tom Dolan nearly broke his own
world record to finish first, former
Wolverine Eric Namesnik placed
second, and Michigan State's Iian
Mull, who trains with the Wolverines
three times a week, grabbed third.
Pretty tough field.
It doesn't get any easier, no matter
what event you watch. There is no
room for error. You have to be
perfect - even better than perfect.
"You can be off 1 percent, and that
can be the difference between finishing
40th and first," said Michigan women's
swimming coach Jim Richardson. "It's

not so much about swimming fast as
about where you place at this meet
either. This meet can do those kind of
things to you."
Trials of tears and triumph.
Those who come to them suffer
from the greatest paradox of all. To
make it to the Olympic trials, an
athlete can never be satisfied with his
or her performance. As a result,
nearly every swimmer goes home
with heartache.
"Watching people walk around,
you see a lot of heads hanging low
and a lot of serious looks," said
Michigan's John Piersma, who has
qualified for the Olympic team in two
events so far. "That's not to say you
can't be serious about it, but, more
importantly, you need to know that
just getting here is important."
Few swimmers realize it. Few fans
realize it. Just getting it to and
through the trials is an incredible
accomplishment. To escape the
pressure cooker with an unseared
psyche is rare.
Those who weren't selected for the
Olympic team did make it. They
made it through the toughest swim
meet in the world, and they picked up
some things along the way.
"You learn how to be resilient and
not lose the passion," Richardson
said. "How to handle defeat and not
become cynical. How to have
character. It's like my coach told me.
'Swimming doesn't build character, it
lets you know if you have any.'
Trials of tears and triumph. The
greatest trial of the trials is surviving
- Nicholas J. Ctsonika can be
reached over e-mail ('t


Michigan's John Piersma qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in both the 200-meter freestyle and 400 freestyle.

.36 seconds away from second-place fin-
isher Kurt Grote of Stanford.
"Wunder was inhibited by too much
anxiety, ortoomuch tension," Urbanchek
said after the race. "He will get rid of that
That he did. Wunderlich came in after
Grote again, but this time he was second
in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.45), and the
Atlanta native won a trip home.
"I'm so relieved," Wunderlich said.

"It's been a long road."
There were disappointments for the
Michigan men. Jason Lancaster and
former Wolverine Steve West both fin-
ished third in their best races last night -
Lancaster in the 100 butterfly (53.73) and
West in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.45).
Freshman Andy Potts placed fourth in the
400 IM (4:22.42) Thursday, and Chris
Rumley settled for fifth in the 400 freestyle
(3:56.84) Saturday.

No Michigan women have made the
U.S. team so far. Junior Anne Kampfe
was the closest, placing fourth in the 400
IM on Wednesday. She led the race for
the first three strokes before running out
of gas down the stretch.
Michigan swimmers Dolan, Lancaster,
Namesnik, Rumley, Potts, Jennifer
Almeida, Alecia Humphrey, Beth Jack-
son and Melisa Stone will all swim to-

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