Missouri State freshman will join former Bears' swimmer Chris Novak in Omaha this summer
April 24, 2012
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Order of Events
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State freshman Paul Le can now be lumped into a small and elite group of swimmers after achieving his first-ever U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 100-meter backstroke on Saturday (April 21). His qualifying mark of 57.59, which came at the RAC AquaHawks Long Course club meet in Fayetteville, Ark., was the exact cut-off time for the 100 back.
The 2012 Olympic Trials meet will once again be held in Omaha, Neb. at the CenturyLink Center, June 25 – July 2. The preliminary session for the 100 back will fall on the second day of competition (Tuesday, June 26).
“It’s the fastest meet on our soil every four years,” said Missouri State head coach Dave Collins. ”The good thing about having swimmers achieve the Olympic Trials time standard is that they will really put in a focused cycle of training through the spring and into the summer and that is important in competing at a high level.”
As of April 1, USA Swimming had 121 listed qualifiers in the men’s 100 backstroke. On Sunday, Le turned in a 2:05.42 in the 200 back, which was less than .50 seconds off the Olympic Trials cut of 2:04.99.
“I’ve worked hard for this moment and it finally paid off,” Le said. “I’m going to experience it [Olympic Trials], take it all in and live it out. Now that I’ve got the cut, I’m going to go all out, because this opportunity only comes around once every four years.”
Less than two months ago, the freshman made a strong first impression at the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championships. Le collected three bronze medals in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM, and was a key component on the Bears’ relay teams. The All-MAC first team selection achieved NCAA “B” cuts in all three of his individual events and also set a new Missouri State record in the 200-yard back.
Le isn’t the only Missouri State swimmer to have qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials. In 2010, former Bears standout Chris Novak posted Olympic Trials cuts in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. Similar to Le, Novak hit the Olympic Trials time on the dot for the 100 breast. His 200 breast time of 2:19.89 at the 2010 USA Swimming National Championships currently ranks 99th in the nation according to USA Swimming.
Prior to Le and Novak, the last Missouri State swimmers to compete in the Olympic Trials were Matt Beasley and Josh Wegrzyn in 2004.
“Paul is going to be a great representative for Missouri State, his hometown [Moore, Okla.], not to mention the Midwest, and the Mid-American Conference,“ Collins added.
For more information on the U.S. Olympic Trials, visit the USA Swimming website.