LOS ANGELES, California, August 31. FOR months, there has been speculation concerning the future of Amanda Beard. Would she return to the competitive ranks and make a run at a fourth Olympics? Or, would she remain away from the pool and focus on her many ensorsement opportunities and modeling career? It looks like an answer has emerged.
As early as next week, Beard is expected to start training under Dave Salo with the Trojan Swim Club. Salo, of course, is also the head man at the University of Southern California as he took that position earlier this year after serving as the head coach of Irvine Novaquatics. In moving to Trojan for her training, Beard is reuniting with Salo, who was her coach during her younger years.
"With me coming back to USC, and Amanda coming back to train with me, it's like everything is old school again," Salo said. "She's a great person and I look forward to her joining the club next week."
A seven-time Olympic medalist, Beard won gold in the 200 breaststroke and silver in the 200 individual medley and 400 medley relay at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Prior to that, she won bronze in the 200 breast at the Sydney Games and won silver in the 100 and 200 breast events at the Atlanta Games in 1996, where she also won gold in the medley relay.
Beard, though, has been out of the international mix for the past two years. During that time, she has tended to her sponosrship commitments, including those of Speedo. The 24-year-old, a former world-record holder in the 200 breast, should add immediate depth to the American arsenal if she finds her old form. While the United States is solid in the 100 breast with Jessica Hardy, Tara Kirk and Megan Jendrick, the U.S. could use a boost in the 200 breast. Beard certainly can provide that spark.