London’s Calling: Matt Grevers and Cammile Adams

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 18. IN today’s segment of Swimming World’s London’s Calling series, we highlight two athletes headed to London strapped with very different expectations. One is a returning Olympian and gold-medal favorite, the other is an Olympic newcomer who will have to battle some fierce international competition to be a medal contender.

Matt Grevers:

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

To the non-swimming community, Matt Grevers might best be known for his aww-inducing February proposal to longtime girlfriend Annie Chandler at the Missouri Grand Prix. The YouTube video, now at a remarkable 2.8 million views, shows six-foot-eight Grevers down on one knee at the top of the medal podium after winning gold in the 100 backstroke.

Fortunately for Matt, Annie said yes.

Grevers was once again at the top of the podium at Team USA’s Olympic Trials, when he touched first, clocking the fastest 100 backstroke time in 2012, and earned a spot on the Olympic team. His 52.08 is the second-fastest time ever, only behind Aaron Peirsol’s World-Record 51.94.

But for Grevers, an individual Olympic event was just the first step. He set his sights on representing the stars and stripes on the men’s 400 freestyle relay. To do this, he’d need to place top four in the 100 freestyle.

“I just want to be on that relay so bad,” Grevers told Swimming World after his 100 freestyle semi-finals swim.

With the relay in mind, Grevers ended up scratching the semi-finals of his 200 backstroke because there was only a single event buffer between the race and the 100 freestyle final.

“My 100 free would suffer if I did the 200 back before,” Grevers said in response to his decision.

Grevers was also a part of the Beijing 2008 Olympic team, where he won an individual silver in the 100 backstroke behind teammate Peirsol. He also won two gold medals for his efforts in the 4×100 freestyle and 4×100 medley relays during the prelims heats.

After placing third in the 100 freestyle at Trials, Grevers told Swimming World:

“Mission accomplished, I’m pumped. I have a chance to do the prelims [in London], and hopefully earn a spot on the finals.”

Grevers trains with Tucson Ford, but spent his collegiate career prior swimming at Northwestern. At NU, Grevers was a 27-time All-American, with 2005 and 2006 NCAA titles in the 100 backstroke, and a 2007 200 backstroke title, along with a medley relay win that same year. He was Northwestern’s first three-time individual Champion since Al Schwartz in 1930.

Looking towards London, Grevers hopes for another personal best in the 100 backstroke: “Hopefully I can break that 52 barrier,” he said. If he does, he may also have a World Record to his name.

Cammile Adams:

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

Texas girls took one-two in the 200 butterfly at Trials. The only problem is that these Southern girls happened to be from rival Texas schools. Cammile Adams, from Texas A&M cinched the win in a 2:06.52, almost a second and a half ahead of second-place finisher Kathleen Hersey of the University of Texas. Fortunately, Team USA reigned supreme, and the girls put aside their Aggie-Longhorn rivalry to congratulate each other for achieving Olympic standing.

After the Olympics, Adams will head into her junior year at A&M along with twin sister Ashley. Under coach Steve Bultman, Adams has achieved two second-place NCAA finishes in the 200 butterfly, in both 2011 and 2012. She also holds school records in the 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle.

A&M certainly made a showing at Trials, as Adams’ teammate Breeja Larson won the 100 breaststroke. Adams credits these breakout performances to Bultman.

“He has a plan for each and every athlete that comes through A&M,” Adams says, adding that, “A&M is the biggest under-rated school there is, and [Trials] has really put us on the map.”

Adams is quick to recognize the influence her twin sister had on her success, saying, “Ashley is my biggest fan, and I think I’m hers. I’m so privileged to have that bond with her, and the whole Aggies family.”

Adams’ biggest competition in London will come from China’s Liu Zige, who set the current World Record in the 200 fly. Liu’s mark, set in 2009, is nearly five seconds faster that the time Adams posted in Omaha.

“I just want to have fun representing the USA,” Adams told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s been such a rewarding experience so far. It’ll only get better when Ashley and I are in London together.”

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, who thinks the 102-degree Phoenix heat today provides the perfect opportunity for a dip in the pool.

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