AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 37: 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Tickets Go On Sale; Pompano Piranhas Hire Vassallo

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 37: 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Tickets Go On Sale; Pompano Piranhas Hire Vassallo

June 15, 2011


The one-year countdown to the June 25-July 2, 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials begins next week when ticket packages go on sale.

On Saturday, June 25th, ticket packages may be purchased through Ticketmaster outlets (charge by phone and

The Olympic Trials return to Omaha, Nebraska in a temporary pool inside the Qwest Center Omaha. Myrtha Pools will provide two temporary 50-meter pools for the Trials which will be installed in the 17,000-seat venue.

All session ticket packages range from $1,000, $525, $425 and $325. Organizers said their goal is to sell all-session passes first. If they need to go to 2-4 day packages they will probably go on sale in December or January.

Omaha was selected as the host based on its success hosting the 2008 U.S. Trials for swimming. During the exciting eight-day competition, 163,000 tickets were sold and an average of 12,000 fans attended finals each night.

During the Trials, swimmers broke nine world records and 21 American records. For more information regarding tickets, hotels and volunteer information for the Trials, go to and


Aussie marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey, 48, swam 68 miles (108K) between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands to set an open world record of 40 hours. She started her journey on Friday morning and finished late Saturday night after spending 40 hours and 41 minutes in the Caribbean waters. She battled eight-foot ocean swells, jelly fish, sharks and strong currents during her record swim. Her support crew included helpers from eleven countries.


Jesse Vassallo, a national hero in swimming for Puerto Rico, has taken over the Pompano Piranhas swim program. The two-time Olympian and University of Miami graduate moves from Fort Lauderdale Aquatics. Before being hired by FLA, he was running a swim school in Puerto Rico, where he served as president of the sport’s federation. Vassallo, 49, was one of the most well-respected swimmers in the sport. The two-time world record holder (200- and 400-meter individual medley) and 16-time national champion qualified for the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympics. Vassallo, one of five swimmers in his family, lost his father at age 16 when Victor Vassallo was killed on a Florida highway while walking for help for his stalled car. Thanks to his father’s devotion, Vassallo became a world-class swimmer. “He had a fantastic feel for the water, a kinesthetic sense for where the greatest water pressure is,” said Mark Schubert, who coached Vassallo at Mission Viejo (Calif.). “I also think his psychological makeup helped. He is extremely tough. He doesn’t let a defeat bother him at all.” Vassallo most certainly will instill that same spirit in his new team. The Piranhas are hosting the Piranhas Ocean Series on Saturday, June 25th, an open water fun event that features a one-mile ocean race, 500-meter kids race and half-mile standup paddleboard event for all ages and ability levels. For information call 954-372-5029….

Christopher “Woody” Woodard has been hired as head women’s swimming and diving coach at Colorado State. Woodard takes over for John Mattos, who retired after 31 years at CSU.  Woodard, a former assistant coach for swimming and water polo at CSU (2000-05) comes from North Carolina State where he was associate men’s head swim coach and assistant women’s coach for the past six seasons and associate head men’s coach. He assisted in coaching Amy Van Dyken, Cullen Jones, Dan Velez and Erin Popovich.

Sharon Robb can be reached at