Local swimmers begin pursuit of spots on U.S. Olympic team

Monday, June 25, 2012 at 4:46pm
Staff reports

Five local swimmers set off in pursuit of a trip to London at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Monday.

Eighteen current or former members of the Nashville Aquatic Club are competing in the week-long trials in Omaha, Neb. The top two in each event make the Olympic team and head to London next month.

Curtis Lovelace, an MBA grad and 13-time All-American at Stanford, just missed qualifying for the 16-swimmer semifinals of the 100-meter breaststroke. In the preliminaries of he was 25th with a time of 1:02.26 — 0.46 seconds out of the last qualifying spot.

Ensworth grad Jackson Wilcox also had one of the club’s better performances. He was 24th in the preliminaries of the 400-meter freestyle. Wilcox, who just finished a four-year career at Texas, had a time of 3:55.49. He was six seconds out of the last qualifying spot for the finals, which features the top eight swimmers.

Taylor Charles was the first in the pool to represent the club, which is coached by John Morse and practices in Nashville and Brentwood. Charles, who is homeschooled, finished 77th out of 114 swimmers in the 400-meter individual medley.

The 17-year old had a time of 4:32.54. Six-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte had the fastest time in the preliminaries with a 4:10.66. Michael Phelps was second in 4:14.72.

Hannah Runyon-Hass, an Ensworth grad representing her college team, Western Kentucky, was 37th in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:52.01. Savannah Napier, a sophomore at Florida who attended the Baylor School in Chattanooga, was 72nd with a time of 4:56.90.

Other Nashville Aquatic Club swimmers to compete this week are Harpeth Hall’s Elizabeth Stinson, Morgan Flynn, Michelle Chintanaphol and Anna Grainger, who will attend Notre Dame in the fall and MBA grad Maclin Davis, who is heading to USC.

Current college standouts include three more at Texas: Hayes Johnson (Father Ryan), Madison Wenzler (Father Ryan), Alan Maher (Brentwood High). Also making the trip is Hillsboro product Eleanor Phillips (San Diego) and homeschooled Dakota Hodgson (USC).

Like Runyon-Hass, three more athletes will represent their college teams: Virginia’s Jack Murfee (MBA) and Parker Camp (Brentwood High) and West Virginia’s Taylor Camp (Brentwood High).

In addition, Vanderbilt rising sophomore Chrissy Oberg of Spartanburg, S.C., is competing in the 200-meter backstroke on Saturday.

• Belmont runner at U.K. trials: Belmont rising sophomore Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson finished 13th out of 14 runners in his heat of the 1,500-meter run at the Great Britain Olympic Trials in Birmingham, England, over the weekend.

Bridger-Wilkinson had a time of 3:57.08 and was in the same preliminary heat as the eventual winner Andrew Baddeley, who was one of two runners to make the Olympic team.