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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 25. THE ageless one, Peter Vanderkaay, just kept on keeping on, earning his second straight Olympic bid in the men's 400 free with a triumph at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Vanderkaay, who always seems to be completely under the radar, clinched a .16-second victory over Lake Forest's Conor Dwyer, 3:47.67 to 3:47.83, in the middle distance event. The victory pushed him from third, to second, to first in that order since he first earned a top three finish behind Klete Keller and Larsen Jensen in 2004 in Long Beach. In 2008, he earned the second Olympic spot behind Jensen. The victory is his second at Trials, as he previously won the men's 1500 free at the 2008 edition here in Omaha.
Vanderkaay is also a solid veteran on which to build an Olympic roster with two golds and a bronze to his credit. He helped the men's 800 freestyle relay to victory in 2004 and 2008, and earned a bronze medal in the men's 200 free in 2008 after taking fourth in the men's 400 free.
Dwyer, meanwhile, proved that focusing on long course during his senior season at Florida after being a yardage king at NCAAs with a pair of victories at the 2010 meet was a smart move. He will now be able to call himself an Olympian after helping the U.S. to a world title in the men's 800 freestyle relay at the 2011 World Championships.
FAST's Michael Klueh wound up taking third overall in 3:48.17, while Charlie Houchin finished fourth in 3:48.32. Ryan Feeley (3:49.25), Connor Jaeger (3:49.55), Matt Patton (3:49.90) and The Woodlands' Michael McBroom (3:56.12) also vied for Olympic berths in the finale.