UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., July 4 – PENN State recently announced that nine of its current or former swimmers will head to the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials for a chance to compete at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
The trials will be held July 7-14th and will feature 307 men and 407 women competing for 52 spots (26 men, 26 women) on Team U.S.A. Penn State joins numerous schools and clubs around the country in identifying with pride the Trials participants from their respective programs.
The U.S. Olympic Trials are the only opportunity for individuals to qualify for the U.S. Swimming Team that will compete in Athens. The 714 athletes competing at the trials received invitations based on meeting a qualifying time standard. Each event has between 30 and 50 individuals competing for one of two spots in each event.
Penn State fans can send a "good luck" greeting to the Nittany Lion student-athletes at the school’s athletic website.
"We are very proud of these outstanding athletes for earning the opportunity to race at the trials," said Penn State head coach Bill Dorenkott. "This is arguably the fastest meet in the world every four years and there is no other place we'd rather be."
The Penn State contingent is made up of seven women and two men. Junior Amberle Biedermann (Colorado Springs, Colo.), junior Sarah Haupt (Carlisle, Pa.), sophomore Claire Hawley (Barnstable, Mass.), sophomore Margy Keefe (Cincinnati, Ohio), sophomore Megan Palera (Santa Maria, Calif.), senior Courtney Stanchock (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and senior Kristen Woodring (Sinking Spring, Pa.) will participate for the women. Former men's swimmers Matt Haupt, who is Sarah's brother, and Jaffrey Clark will also shoot for a spot on the Olympic team.
Biedermann qualified to compete in the 100-meter butterfly with a swim of 1:02.23. Biedermann is a seven-time Big Ten champion and a six-time Big Ten Championship record-holder.
Haupt qualified for the 100 Backstroke with a time of 1:03.52. She is a six-time Big Ten champion and a four-time Big Ten Championship record-holder.
Hawley recorded 8:48.98 to qualify in the 800 freestyle, while Keefe will compete in the 400 freestyle (4:15.31) and the 800 freestyle (8:45.27), and Palera will swim the 400 IM (4:55.47).
Stanchock, a two-time Big Ten champion and record-holder, qualified for the 100 breaststroke at 1:11.82.
Woodring, who sparkled for the Nittany Lions in 2003-04 after taking a year off, will compete in the 100 (1:09.93) and 200 (2:35.38) breaststrokes. Woodring is a five-time All-American, an eight-time Big Ten champion and a former Big Ten Freshman of the Year (2001).
Haupt is a 2003 graduate and served as a Penn State volunteer assistant coach last season and will represent Big Cat Aquatics Club in the 100 butterfly (54.82), 200 butterfly (2:01.01) and the 200 IM (2:05.56).
Clark also graduated in 2003 and will also compete in three events. He will swim the 200 IM (2:05.38), the 400 IM (4:27.23) and the 200 backstroke while representing the Suburban Swim Club, a Philadelphia area team.
Former Penn State swimmer Eugene Botes has already made the South African team and will compete in the 100-meter butterfly. He will also be eligible for relay events on the South African team.
The Penn State coaching staff that will accompany the athletes to Long Beach is no stranger to international competition. Dorenkott served as an assistant women's coach during the 2003 Pan Am Games and as an assistant for the 2001 World University Games in Beijing, China.
Assistant coach Ed Bartsh won gold in the 1963 Pan Am Games 100 Backstroke. Assistant coach John Hargis won a gold medal in the 400 medley relay at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics and a silver medal in the 400 medley relay at the 1998 World Championships.