Local swimmer falls short in final Olympic bid - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local swimmer falls short in final Olympic bid

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Sean Ryan (right), talks with his University of Michigan teammate Chad LaTourette after their preliminary race in the men's 1,500 meter on Sunday. (AP Photo) Sean Ryan (right), talks with his University of Michigan teammate Chad LaTourette after their preliminary race in the men's 1,500 meter on Sunday. (AP Photo)

Sean Ryan falls short of Olympic spot in 1,500-meter freestyle
OMAHA, Neb. (WRCB) --
Sean Ryan waited all week for his best shot at the Olympics.

Now the McCallie grad will have to wait another four years.

Ryan finished eighth in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle final Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials. Only the top two finishers, University of Georgia swimmer Andrew Gemmell and Connor Jaeger, clinched a ticket to London.

Ryan touched the wall in 15:16.18, 24 seconds off Gemmell's winning time of 14:52.19. Jaeger followed less than a second later in 14:52.51.

Chad LaTourette set a blazing early pace to build a huge lead in the first 600 meters before falling back to the pack. He finished third in 14:57.53, the only other swimmer in the field of eight to come in below the 15-minute mark.

Ryan qualified for Monday's final by posting the seventh-fastest time in Sunday's prelims. However, his final time from lane one was nearly six seconds slower than his qualifying time of 15:10.54. It was also well off his personal best of 15:01.43.

The Hixson native also competed in the 200 and 400-meter freestyle last week at the trials, but failed to advance from prelims in each event. He also attempted to make the U.S. open water Olympic team last summer, but fell just short at the world championships in China.

At only 19-years-old, Ryan still has his sites set on an Olympic bid in the future. He will be a junior next year at the University of Michigan, where he's already a two-time NCAA All-American.

Joyce gives UGA five representatives on U.S. Olympic swim team
OMAHA, Neb. (WRCB) --
Andrew Gemmell wasn't the only swimmer with ties to the University of Georgia to clinch a spot in London on Monday night.

Former Lady Bulldog star Kara Lynn Joyce secured her third straight Olympic appearance when she finished runner-up to Jessica Hardy in the women's 50-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

Joyce's time of 24.73 fell just behind Hardy's 24.50. Former Tennessee Lady Vol standout Christine Magnuson, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics, finished six-hundredths of a second behind Joyce in third.

Joyce, who was an 18-time national champion at UGA, rounds out a group of five swimmers with Georgia ties heading to London.

Rising junior Allison Schmitt headlines the group after dominating the 200 and 400-meter freestyles at the trials. Another rising junior, Shannon Vreeland, and former Lady Bulldog star Amanda Weir are both listed as alternates on freestyle relay teams, but will both make the trip as part of Team USA.

Knoxville native earns Olympic spot after Phelps withdraws from 200m free
OMAHA, Neb. (WRCB) --
Michael Phelps cut his 2012 Olympics schedule down to just seven events on Monday, and in doing so bumped Davis Tarwater's up to one.

Phelps scratched himself from the 200-meter freestyle in London in order to focus more energy on the U.S. relay teams. His move started a ripple effect that resulted in Tarwater, a Knoxville native and Webb School graduate, earning a spot on the 4x200m relay team.

Tarwater finished seventh in the 200m final last week at the trials, and told Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR he was contemplating retirement on his flight back home Monday morning.

However, when he landed in Charlotte he received a call from Team USA informing him of the move, and was immediately brought back to Omaha to accept his spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.

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