US Olympic Trials - Sardines Watching the Big Fish -- August 11, 2000
By Jim Lutz - Correspondent for SwimInfo.com and former
Head Swimming Coach for the University of Illinois
Standing on deck during finals you get the feeling you are a sardine packed tightly in a can. The entire perimeter of the swimming natatorium is
shoulder-to-shoulder, six to seven people deep. To add to the "up close and personal" feeling on deck, the excitement in the pool has given everyone reason to squirm, shake, rattle and roll.
While the sardines spectate, the big fish churn up the water in a display that very few will forget. As the records continue to drop at the
United States Olympic Swimming Trials, the pool has become a hardhat area.
The outpouring of emotion is nothing new for the newest Olympians. These talented swimmers are giving the US team a full list of personalities.
Tom Dolan was lurking the waters during the 400 IM as the fiercest predator, the Great White Shark. Eric Vendt, in the same event, resembled a rabid Piranha seeking blood. Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres, displayed the grace and beauty of the carefree dolphin during the 100 Butterfly event. Diana Munz, was "The Barracuda", as she upset defending Olympic Champion, Brooke Bennett in the 400 Freestyle.
For six more days, the natatorium will continue to become the largest freestanding aquarium in the entire United States. Don't be late or you will miss the feeding frenzy and assault on every swimming record in the books.