2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials - Omaha, Neb.


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June, 29, 2012 (Men's 200 Back Prelim Results)
Missouri State’s presence at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials came to a close on Friday (June 29) when sophomore Paul Le hopped out of the CenturyLink Center pool following his 200-meter backstroke swim.

Le, who kicked off his Trials debut with an exciting 38th-place finish in the 100 back on Tuesday, was seeded 70th for the longer of the two backstroke events.

On the right pace for his first 100 meters (59.05), Le was unable bring it home in the second-half split that he was hoping for. His time of 2:04.64 was not enough to advance to the semifinals, however, the 2012 All-MAC first teamer still finished within a second of his career best. With the 2:04.64, Le finished the preliminaries ranked 58th out of 107 swimmers.

Missouri State head swimming coach Dave Collins couldn’t have been happier following Le and Chris Novak’s performances at this year’s Olympic Trials.

“It has been a really positive experience for us,” Collins said. “It’s been our goal to have athletes at this meet and it is something that we can really build on with the program. I’m extremely proud of Paul [Le] and Chris [Novak] for making their Trials cuts, and on top of that, they both swam really well while they were here.”

There is no doubt that Collins would like to bring a bigger group of Bears to participate in the 2016 Olympic Swimming Trials, wherever they end up.

“One of my favorite moments was watching our guys swim. It is an unbelievable atmosphere,” Collins added. “It’s neat when you’re walking around and it’s Michael Phelps and Paul was warming up with Ryan Lochte. That’s an experience that he is going to be able to remember for a long time.”

June 28, 2012 (Men's 200 Breast Prelim Results)
Missouri State alumnus Chris Novak concluded his U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials experience on Thursday (June 28) by competing in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Like his 100 breaststroke performance on Monday, Novak moved up the final rankings and was within .50 seconds of his career best. His time of 2:20.34 was good enough for 74th overall (out of 129) and he moved up 26 spots from his original seed position.

“It has been fantastic,” Novak said of his time in Omaha, Neb. “I have learned a lot from being here and being with some of the top athletes from across the country and the best in the world. Just watching them compete and seeing some American records has been a wonderful experience.”

Although he is uncertain if there is the possibility of another Olympic Trials appearance, the Kansas City, Mo., native isn’t ready to hang up his swim cap and goggle quite yet. In August, Novak will compete at the 2012 U.S. Open held in Indianapolis at the Indiana University Natatorium.

“I am training this next month and plan to go to the U.S. Open,” Novak said. “And hopefully I either end out my career with some best times or see where that takes me.”

*For daily recaps and video features, check out MissouriStateBears.com. For additional updates from Omaha, follow the Bears on Twitter @MissouriStBears and @MoStateSwim.

June 26, 2012 (Men’s 100 Back Prelim Results)
Missouri State backstroker Paul Le admitted that he was nervous leading up to his first swim at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, but he got the best of those nerves during the fifth heat of the 100-meter backstroke on Tuesday (June 26).

Despite drawing a far outside lane, the Moore, Okla., native swam a lifetime best in the event and skyrocketed up the rankings with his time of 56.59. Le was originally seeded 93rd, but with his .72 second drop, he shot all the way up to 38th.

“This is an atmosphere that he had not been exposed to before, but he swam a very smart race today,” Missouri State head coach Dave Collins said. “In a meet where there are very few people dropping time, for him to do what he did was phenomenal.”

In comparison to the rest of the field, Le was just 1.10 seconds behind the 16th-place finisher who snagged the final spot for tonight’s semifinals. Matt Grevers, who won silver in the 100 back at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, recorded the morning’s fastest split (52.94) and was a few hundredths shy of the Trials record.

“We are always trying to move our athletes up the ladder of elite-level swimming and what Paul [Le] did today really showed that he’s on the right track,” Collins added.

Le, who placed third in the 100-yard back at the 2012 MAC Championships behind Eastern Michigan’s Jacob Hanson and Buffalo’s Matt Schwippert, avenged his loss at the CenturyLink Center on Tuesday, defeating the two by more than .40 seconds.

Up next for the All-MAC first team selection is the 200-meter backstroke where he is seeded 70th with a time of 2:03.95.

June 25, 2012 (
Men's 100 Breast Prelim Results)
Former Missouri State swimmer Chris Novak made his 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials debut at the CenturyLink Center on Monday (June 25) competing in the 100 breaststroke prelims. The 2011 graduate entered the event seeded 142nd out of 144 entries.

The Kansas City, Mo., native won the first heat with a time of 1:04.98, less than .30 seconds off his lifetime best. His mark was the 95th fastest time on Monday as he moved up 47 spots from his initial seed position.

USC Trojan John Criste surprised the field with the quickest time (1:00.30) during the preliminary session, edging four-time Olympic medalist and former world record holder Brendan Hansen by .01 seconds.

Novak will now have two days of rest before competing in the 200 breast on Thursday, June 28.



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