Competing in the Olympics is considered by some athletes to be the greatest achievement attainable in their area of sports ability. The Olympics begins this week in Sydney, Australia and nine members of the AU swim team answered the call over the summer and tried out for the Olympic teams of their respective home countries. These countries were Denmark, Spain, Sweden and the United States. An AU alumnus also tried out for the Spanish Olympic swim team.
“It’s great that so many people went to trials and also having so many Americans in trials is great,” head swimming and diving coach Mark Davin said. Previously, only one AU student tried out for the Olympics in 1996, Davin added.
Four swimmers from AU tried out for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. All swam career best times, but none of them made the team. They included: Dominick Szabo, a freshman and a member of the Cural Burke Swim Club, who went to the Olympic trials for a spot in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke; Ethan Bassett, a freshman and member of the Cural Burke Swim Club, tried out in the 200-meter breaststroke; Mark Liscisnki, a sophomore and last year’s Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, swam in the 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter backstroke; and Will Maher, a senior and member of the Ocean State Squids, who tried out for the team in the 200-meter freestyle.
In the U.S. Olympic trials the top two athletes are taken in each event, but in other countries the selection process may vary. Five AU students and one alumnus tried for the teams from their home countries.
Frank Byskov, a senior, tried out for the Danish Olympic swimming team in the 200-meter breaststroke. Byskov failed to make the Danish team, but swam a personal best time during the trials. Byskov also earned CAA Swimmer of the Year honors for the past two years.
Two AU students tried out for the Spanish Olympic team. Rebecca Santos, a senior, tried for a spot on the squad in the 200-meter butterfly and 400- and 800-meter freestyle. Junkal Iriogen, a junior, tried out for the team in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter freestyle and the 200-meter individual medley.
Finally, two AU students attended the Swedish Olympic Swim trials. Jessica Lindstrom, a freshman, tried out for the Swedish team in 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle. Steina Lindman, a sophomore, swam in the trails for a chance to compete in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. Although Lindstrom and Lindman both swam lifetime best times both failed to make the team.
“It just goes to show where the swim team at AU is going in the near future,” Davin commented.
Even though no current AU students made their respective Olympic teams, an AU alumnus made the Spanish Olympic Swimming Team. Fred Hviid, graduate of the AU Class of 1998, will be swimming in Sydney. While at AU Hviid was an All-American swimmer. In the 2000 Sydney Games, Hviid will compete in the 400-meter individual medley and 1500-meter freestyle.
The individual medley that Hviid will compete in consists of two laps each of breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle. In the freestyle event he will swim 30 laps. Hviid competed in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. where he placed ninth in the 400-meter individual medley.
Hviid will be swimming the 400-meter individual medley on the first day of the games and he will be swimming the 1500-meter freestyle on the final day of competition. During his events Hviid will be swimming against Tom Dolan, a member of the Cural Burke Swim Club, which trains in the pool in AU’s Bender Arena.