WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
May 14, 2011
Tiffany Oliver wasn’t even expecting to swim Saturday night at the 27th annual Charlotte UltraSwim.
The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer was first alternate in the 50-meter freestyle after finishing 25th in 26.79 seconds in morning prelims.
“I was in the hotel when I found out I was first alternate,” said Oliver, a freshman at Florida State. “I didn’t think I would swim or need to warm-up so I went to the pool a little later.
“I brought a suit just in case. I looked at the heat sheet and saw I was swimming. I forgot my towel but at least I had my suit, cap and goggles.”
Swimming in Lane 8 against a fast field in the “C” final, Oliver, 18, swam a career-best time of 26.31 and qualified for her first Olympic trials Saturday night at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in downtown Charlotte. The qualifying cut time is 26.39.
The 2012 U.S. Olympic trials are June 25-July 2 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
“Whahooooooo! Nice trials cut,” said her SOFLO Coach Chris Anderson when he learned of her time.
Anderson has worked with Oliver since she was young growing up with the Comets program at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines. She is the first West Broward High School alum to qualify for the Olympic trials in swimming.
Oliver, not fully-rested, went into the meet hoping to swim fast times but never expected an Olympic trials cut.
“I went into the meet and was going to drop time, but making the Olympic trials cut was a nice surprise,” Oliver said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. This is the biggest thing to happen to me in swimming. It is the highest cut I ever made.”
Oliver said she treated it like any other race.
“At first I got a little nervous then I told myself it was just another race and I can only do better,” Oliver said. “I wasn’t really thinking I just went. Usually I catch them at the end of the 50 but I was leading after the first 25 meters. It was all solid.
“I feel like I can go faster,” Oliver said. “I wasn’t fully tapered. I want to go faster the next few months of summer.”
Oliver, who was doing homework during the meet Saturday night, plans to finish school on June 20th and return home to train. She plans to compete in both junior and senior nationals where “I want to drop times there.”
SOFLO teammate and two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov qualified for his second championship final for the second consecutive day.
Polyakov, 27, was fifth-fastest qualifier in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:20.49 and came back to finish fifth in 2:18.38. Eric Shanteau won his second gold of the meet in 2:10.95.
SOFLO’s Tyler Sell, 18, was 24th in the “C” final of the 400-meter freestyle in 4:07.48.
Other SOFLO results:
48. Kevin Bandy, Unattached, Kentucky, 200-meter butterfly, 2:09.72.
99. Kyle Bandy, Unattached, West Virginia, 200-meter butterfly 2:20.40.
In other championship finals:
Women’s 200-meter butterfly: 2008 Olympian Kathleen Hersey, 21, of Atlanta led from the start and held off Elaine Breeden, 22, to win in 2:09.12. She went out in 28.97 at the first turn and 1:02.24 at the 100.
Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Jessica Hardy, 24, of Trojan Swim Club came from behind to overtake Kara Lynn Joyce to win in 25.13. Joyce was second in 25.17.
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: Against a strong field and swimming in Lane 2 in her first final of the meet, Olympian Natalie Coughlin, 28, won in a meet record 1:00.22. The American record holder went out in 29.04. Missy Franklin, 16, was second in 1:00.22.
Women’s 400-meter freestyle: Chloe Sutton, 19, of Mission Viejo broke away from field for a 2:32 split and ran away with the event in 4:08.73. She was also awarded a $1,000 check for winning the Wendy’s Mystery Event.
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: In one of the most highly anticipated races of the meet, American record holder Rebecca Soni, 24, of Trojan Swim Club, went out quick and distanced herself from the star-studded field with a crisp, tight stroke to win in 2:23.33. Her 100 split was 1:09.28. Olympian Amanda Beard, 29, was second in 2:26.24.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: China’s Wu Peng, 23, of Club Wolverine overtook Michael Phelps in the final 50 meters to win in 1:56.83. Phelps, 25, was second in 1:58.22. Phelps went out in 26.12 and 56.39 and was leading after 100 meters but Peng turned it into a two-man race down the final stretch.
Men’s 50-meter freestyle: Two days after losing the world championship 50-meter swim-off, Josh Schneider revenged the loss winning in 22.51, just .01 seconds ahead of SwimMAC teammate Cullen Jones who won the swim-off. “After Thursday I was pretty mopey since it was my first, real hard defeat in the sport of swimming,” Schneider said. “I took a nap today, woke up and told myself that enough was enough. The real challenge today was getting here and performing. I’m extremely, extremely happy with how I did.”
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: After a 25.80 opening split, David Plummer of Minnetonka won in 54.04, ninth fastest time in the world this year. Ryan Lochte was fourth.
Men’s 400-meter freestyle: Swiss Olympian Dominik Meichtry, 26, of Trojan Swim Club wonhis second gold in 3:52.00 ahead of Conor Dwyer of Gator Swim Club in 3:53.65. Ryan Lochte was ninth in 3:56.42.
Other Florida Gold Coast results:
Women’s 200-meter butterfly: 14. Ana Anaya, Metro Aquatics 2:18.41; 30. Chelsea Britt, FLA 2:20.74.
Women’s 50-meter freestyle: 45. Zeineb Khalafallah, Pine Crest 27.38; 49. Carmen Cianci, Davie 27.45; 95. Maria Sosa Quintero, Davie 28.15.
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: 9. Carol Colorado, Davie 1:03.36; 41. Chelsea Britt, FLA 1:06.00; 57. Carmen Cianci, Davie 1:06.91.
Women’s 400-meter freestyle: 18. Lauren Driscoll, FLA 4:19.22; 43. Olivia Katcher, FLA 4:29.00; 52. Maria Munoz, Davie 4:30.87.
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: 11. Mhyria Miller, Florida Keys 2:35.38; 66. Patricia Casellas, Davie 2:46.55
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: 12. Torres Montoya, Davie 2:04.01; 19. Juilo Galofre, Davie 2:05.90; 50. Daniel Roa, Davie 2:09.95; 65. Aaron Dsouza, Davie 2:11.37; 70. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 2:11.73; 86. Julio Ballestas, Metro Aquatics 2:14.88.
Men’s 50-meter freestyle: 50. Ricardo Munoz, Metro Aquatics 24.46; 83. Stephen Lichtner, Metro Aquatics 25.12; 94. Nicholas Coard, FLA 25.27; 100. Julio Ballestas, Metro Aquatics 25.54.
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: 20. J. Perez Molina, Davie 57.39; 72. Diguan Pigot, Metro Aquatics 1:01.99.
Men’s 400-meter freestyle: 11. Ricardo Monasterio, Davie 4:00.46; 20. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 4:04.10.
Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: 9. Jorge Murillo, Davie 2:19.11; 27. Ryan Rosenbaum, FLA 2:28.88.
Prelims and finals are 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. are Sunday. Race footage of both prelims and finals will be webcast live by USA Swimming at www.usaswimming.org/charlottegrandprix.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com