Lenoir City native Donahue clinches Olympic spot
Lenoir City native Claire Donahue punches ticket to London
OMAHA, Neb. (WRCB/WKU) -- Claire Donahue was repeatedly called a "late-bloomer" during Tuesday night's national telecast of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team Trials.
But the 23-year-old Lenoir City, Tenn., native can now be described in a different way: Olympian.
Donahue clinched a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the upcoming London Games with a career-best swim in the women's 100-meter butterfly finals. The Western Kentucky grad's personal best of 57.57 finished runner-up to winner Dana Vollmer (56.50), who claimed the only other available Olympic spot.
"It feels unbelievable to make it to the 2012 Olympics," Donahue said in a statement through WKU. "I have wanted this since I was a little girl. To be able to do this now is a dream come true.
"When I finished and saw that I was second, I did not even know what to think. At first I didn't believe it. I ripped off my cap and goggles and saw that I placed second, and I immediately had a huge grin from ear-to-ear. I am so thrilled to have this opportunity."
Donahue narrowly edged out third-place Kathleen Hersey (58.16) and University of Tennessee senior Kelsey Floyd (58.22) to secure her first Olympic trip. She becomes the first WKU swimmer to make the U.S. Olympic swim team, and just the third former Hilltopper to swim in the Olympics.
Georgia swimmer Schmitt to make second Olympic appearance
OMAHA, Neb. (WRCB/UGA) -- A lost college season helped Allison Schmitt find her way back to the Olympics.
The University of Georgia rising senior, who redshirted the past season to train for a possible trip to London, cruised to the win in the women's 400-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swim Team Trials on Tuesday night.
Schmitt, who won bronze as a member of the 800-meter freestyle relay team in the 2008 Beijing Games, set a blazing pace en route to earn her second straight Olympic berth. Her winning time of 4:02.89 is the third-fastest time in the world this year.
"I definitely heard the crowd, and it was so exciting. I was just hoping that wall would come fast, and it did," Schmitt said with a smile.
Chloe Sutton snared the other slot for the Americans as she placed second in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:04.18.
The swimming portion of the Olympics will take place July 28-Aug. 4 in London's Aquatics Centre. Former Lady Bulldogs Wendy Trott (South Africa) and Sarah Poewe (Germany), former Bulldog Troy Prinsloo (South Africa) and signees Brittany MacLean (Canada), Matias Koski (Finland) and Yousef Alaskari (Kuwait) previously qualified for the Games.
Ex-Bulldog diver Chris Colwill will also compete for Team USA.
Lochte beats Phelps again, but it's only the semis
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Ryan Lochte scored another win over Michael Phelps at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, but it was only the semifinals of the 200-meter freestyle.
Their next big showdown is Wednesday.
Lochte turned on an amazing burst of speed on the final lap Tuesday night, going stroke for stroke with Phelps before touching the wall in 1 minute, 46.25 seconds. Phelps finished in 1:47.27, setting up quite a race in the final.
Conor Dwyer, who actually led the semifinal heat through 150 meters, faded to third in 1:47.38.
Lochte beat Phelps in the 400 individual medley on the opening night of the meet, extending his domination over the 14-time Olympic gold medalist.
Ryan, Baylor duo fail to advance from prelims
OMAHA, Neb. (WRCB) -- Sean Ryan is oh-for-two in the pool this week at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials after failing to advance from preliminaries in the men's 200-meter freestyle.
The McCallie grad, who missed Monday's 400-meter free finals by three spots, fell short of the 200-meter semifinals by five spots Tuesday. His prelim time of 1:50.27 ranked 21st in a field of 124 swimmers, but only the top 16 advanced to the semis.
Ryan, who also tried to qualify for the U.S. Open Water team last summer, still has another shot to qualify for London. He'll swim his best event, the 1,500-meter freestyle, this weekend.
Former Baylor School swimmer Reese Shirey and recent Baylor grad Sam McHugh also hit the water Tuesday, but both failed to advance from the 100-meter backstroke prelims.
Shirey, a University of Alabama swimmer, placed 102nd with a time of 58.24 in his second Olympic Trials experience. McHugh's time of 58.41 ranked 111th in his trials debut.