AUBURN, Ala., August 8. The Sports Media Relations Office at Auburn Univerisity recently interviewed one of its own about this question. Bryce Hunt qualified for the U.S. team by placing third behind Aaron Piersol and Michael Phelps. Hunt had the most unique experience of making the team of anyone since he didn’t learn it in the pool. He made the team when Michael Phelps chose to bypass the event. But Head U.S. Coach Eddie Reese has already come out with a strong endorsement, saying the second U.S. slot is in good and capable hands with Bryce. Again, this seems like a pretty darn good response to the call SwimInfo put out last week for Olympic Memories. We hope you enjoy it. And send in yours!
1. Who was the first person you talked to after finding out that Michael Phelps had dropped the 200 back and you were taking his place?
“David and the rest of the coaches came down to my room at 8:45 am to tell me in person that I made it. So he woke me up and was there when I called my parents right then."
2. Did you have any idea after you were done competing at trials that Michael might drop out of the race, giving you a chance to make the team?
"Several people had told me that they expected Michael to do just that, I didn't want to get my hopes up and be wrong so I assumed that since he had handled the work load at trials he would handle it again at the games. But David told me to go ahead and train the day after my race because he thought Michael would pull out, he was right and Mike did."
3. What does it mean to you to represent both Auburn and the United States?
"Its very special. Every young swimmers dream is to be an Olympian and I get to do it for the greatest country in the world. I'm so proud to represent Auburn as well because this is has really become my home."
4. How long have you dreamed about becoming an Olympian?
"The first games I remember watching were the '92 games in Barcelona. I was only 10 and didn't really understand the significance but I knew that was where the best were and of course wanted to be there wearing the red, white, and blue."
5. Outside of world record holder Aaron Piersol, who do you feel are your biggest competitors in the 200 back?
"Well I would say Michael Phelps and Lenny Krayzelburg but they aren't doing the 200 back of course. Marcus Rogan of Austria (not Australia) who has been training at Stanford, Matt Welsh of Australia, and Simon Dufor of France are all capable of medaling. I swam against them all last year at World Champs so it should be a familiar field."
6. How has swimming at Auburn for the past four years prepared you for the Olympics?
"Its prepared me very well, I've swum against Aaron Peirsol many times and trained with great backstrokers here like Jon Karr, Kirk Hampleman, Doug van Wie, and Chad Barlow."
7. Is any of your family going to be able to make the trip over to Athens with you?
"Yes, my mom, dad, Aunt Candi, and Uncle Phil are going to be able to make it over."
8. What are your plans for when you are in Athens and not swimming?
"Swimming is at the beginning of the games so I'll be able to go and watch other events, like Caesar's (Garcia) diving, after the swimming is completed."
9. What have you been doing between your time and California and leaving for USA Team Training Camp?
"Well I just got into auburn Thursday night around 9pm and I leave for the training camp Sunday morning at 7:30…so not very much, hahaha. I've been training and taking care things so I can be gone for a month and a half."
10. Has it sunk in yet?
"I don't think it totally has yet, I'm very excited but I know I have a lot of training and preparation left. Making the team was my first big obstacle. Now I need to medal at the games!"