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Tigers eyeing Olympic Trials

Thursday, December 4, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:57 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

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Four Missouri swimmers might have Olympic futures, but first they will have to prove themselves against the world’s best.

Andrea Nigh, Rebecca Wolfe, Liz Schoborg, and Matt North will represent the Tigers in the U.S. Open today in Federal Way, Wash. The meet, which concludes Saturday, has more than 900 swimmers.

Each will have the opportunity to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Trials in July in Long Beach, Calif., if they meet qualifying times.

Wolfe and North qualified for the Olympic Trials last summer and seek to qualify in other events. Wolfe, a senior, will compete in the 200-meter butterfly, for which she has qualified, and the 100-meter butterfly.

North, a junior, will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke, an event he has qualified for, the 100-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter individual medley. After finishing the 100-meter breaststroke four-tenths a second off the qualifying time this summer, North said his goal is to qualify in the event.

“I’m a little nervous because it’s my last chance to get it before Trials,” North said. “This summer I only had one shot, and things didn’t go as well as I had wanted. I know I can swim better.”

Missouri coach Brian Hoffer said he is excited about what he had seen from North.

“Guys usually get better in their mid-20s, and we’re starting to see the fruits of North’s labors,” Hoffer said. “Things are starting to click for him. His technique is the best I’ve ever seen it.”

Nigh, a senior, will compete in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and aspires to qualify in the 50. Schoborg, a sophomore, will compete in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and hopes to qualify in the 100-meter butterfly.

“It’s always a goal when you are little to get to the Olympic Trials,” Schoborg said. “If I got that, it’d be cool.”

Their ability to adapt to the longer pool also will factor into the Tigers’ performances. The Tigers practice and usually compete in 25-yard pool. The U.S. Open uses a 50-meter pool.

The four swimmers arrived in Washington on Wednesday and have been acclimating themselves to the larger pool.

“It’s extremely difficult, and we only have one day to adjust,” Hoffer said. “We don’t have a lot of time but, we’re not going all the way to Washington to swim slow.”

About 70 swimmers will compete in each event. The preliminaries are each morning of the three-day event, and each evening, the day’s the top 16 swimmers will return for finals.

“If we get any second swims, that’s a huge accomplishment,” Hoffer said. “Our goal is always to do well. Doing well might be getting a best time and maybe not top 16. A lifetime best swim might be placed 20th.”


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