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London's Calling: Tyler Clary and Jessica Hardy -- July 22, 2012

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PHOENIX, Arizona, July 22. TODAY, Swimming World takes a look at two Team USA athletes whose actions have occasionally put them under the microscope.

Tyler Clary's recent negative comments on Michael Phelps' training habits caused backlash within the swimming community. This coupled with Jessica Hardy's performance-enhancement fiasco four years ago makes both athletes controversial figures.

Nonetheless, it's hard to deny that Clary and Hardy are an incredibly talented duo. Let's take a look at their accomplishments between the lane lines:


Tyler Clary:

Due to NBC rights holder restrictions, the following video interview is only viewable until 7/27/2012:


Tyler Clary is currently one of the world's most versatile swimmers. He frequently competes head-to-head with Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Both of whom happen to excel in Clary's best events (400IM, 200fly, 200back).

After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps stated that he would no longer compete in the 400IM. This action opened up an opportunity on the team for Clary. However, Phelps went back on his proclamation, taking the 400IM win at Trails, and bumping Clary down to third in the event. Clary later turned this disappointment around by qualifying for the Olympics in the 200 butterfly.

In the finals of the 200 butterfly, Clary was fourth going into the last turn.

"At the 125, I didn't even think I was in the race," Clary told Swimming World. "I was thinking to myself, holy crap, am I going to be able to pull this off?"

Well, Clary pulled it off and added the 200 backstroke to his Olympic line-up the following day.

"It's like the biggest caffeine rush you've ever experienced times ten right now," Clary said in reference to making the Olympic team. "Like I feel like I'm about to go run a marathon ... but I know my body wouldn't be able to handle that," he added with a laugh.

Clary is a native of Redlands, California and graduated from Riverside Polytechnic high school in 2007 before swimming at the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, Clary was the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Champion in the 400IM. He also won the 200 backstroke title in 2009, and holds NCAA DI records in both events.

Clary represented the FAST Swim Team at this year's Trials. At FAST, he swims under International Swimming Hall of Fame and former University of Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek.

Jessica Hardy:

Due to NBC rights holder restrictions, the following video interview is only viewable until 7/27/2012:


Jessica Hardy went into this year's Olympic Trials most excited about her 100 breaststroke. And why wouldn't she be? After all, she broke her first World Record in the event prior to 2008.

"I put more pressure on myself in the breaststroke," Hardy said. "Freestyles are more fun, but I don't care if I mess them up."

Ironically, she failed to qualify in the 100 breaststroke, but excelled in her "fun" freestyle events.

Hardy won the 100 freestyle at Trials in a lifetime best, which also earned her a spot on the women's 4x100 freestyle relay.

"I thought I was a better breaststroker than freestyler!" Hardy exclaimed to Swimming World after her 100 freestyle win.

She followed this win with another in the 50 freestyle, upping her Olympic event total to three, all-freestyle events.

Four years ago in 2008, after making the US Olympic team, Hardy tested positive for Clenbuterol. She was later exonerated after an American arbitration panel agreed that she fell victim to a tainted nutritional supplement. She received a one-year ban and was allowed to compete for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. When reflecting on the experience four years ago, Hardy had mixed emotions:

"It's a mixture of both positive and negative," Hardy said. "I remember the good times of making the Olympic team, and I'm grateful for that. But there are a lot of traumatic memories I'm still working through."

Hardy is a native of Long Beach, California. She graduated from Long Beach Wilson high school in 2005, and won Swimming World Magazine's high school swimmer of the year in 2004 and 2005. After high school, Hardy went on to swim at the University of California Berkeley. She competed for the Cal Golden Bears for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, before turning professional.

At this year's Trials, Hardy represented the Trojan Swim Club, a USC-based post-graduate club team under coach Dave Salo.

Read the rest of the "London's Calling" Series by clicking on the link below:
London's Calling: Swimming World's Countdown to the Opening Ceremonies

Written and posted by Shoshanna Rutemiller. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the shooting victims in Aurora, CO.
@ShoshyJean




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