PHOENIX, Arizona, September 13. FORTY-NINE aquatic athletes and five coaches and staff members are headed to Washington, D.C., for a special meeting tomorrow with President Barack Obama and Olympians from other sports to commemorate their participation in the 2012 Olympics.
Swimming will feature the most athletes among aquatic sports, with 25 swimmers attending the event. Women's water polo will bring the largest percentage of team attendance to the nation's capital, as 10 of the 13 members of the gold medal-winning squad are scheduled to appear. Diving will bring a large portion of its team to the event as well, with seven of the 11 divers that competed in London participating.
Four from the men's team that competed in London are scheduled to attend, and synchronized swimming will be represented solely by Mariya Koroleva at the event.
In the past, the celebration has featured a large photo session, a speech by the President and a brief tour of the White House. Michael Phelps is attending this year, and he participated in 2008, standing directly behind President Bush during his speech.
Photo courtesy Larry French
Swimmer Tyler Clary was the only athlete to have his refusal to attend go public, with a report on TMZ stating that he already has plans to drive race cars and attend the IndyCar Series race in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday.
Swimmers attending the White House event:
Alyssa Anderson, Elizabeth Beisel, Clark Burckle, Claire Donahue, Conor Dwyer, Jimmy Feigen, Andrew Gemmell, Jessica Hardy, Kathleen Hersey, Charlie Houchin, Conor Jaeger, Kara Lynn Joyce, Ariana Kukors, Breeja Larson, Katie Ledecky, Tyler McGill, Matt McLean, Alex Meyer, Lia Neal, Lauren Perdue, Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt, Davis Tarwater, Peter Vanderkaay, Shannon Vreeland, Amanda Weir, Scott Weltz, Kate Ziegler
Divers attending the White House event:
David Boudia, Kelci Bryant, Kristian Ipsen, Abby Johnston, Cassidy Krug, Nick McCrory, Brittany Viola. Also, coaches Drew Johansen and Rick Schavone are attending.
Water polo players attending the White House event:
Tumua Anae, Betsey Armstrong, Layne Beaubien, Kami Craig, Annika Dries, Tim Hutten, Courtney Mathewson, Merrill Moses, Heather Petri, Kelly Rulon, Jessica Steffens, Maggie Steffens, Peter Varellas, Brenda Villa. Also, coach Adam Krikorian and team managers Jen Adams and Rick McKee are attending.