Hunt Back In The Hunt For An Olympic Medal

Long Beach, Calif.--For <!--Default NodeId For Auburn is 569,2004--><A HREF=>Auburn</A> men's swimming team captain Bryce Hunt, Greece is the word.

After narrowly missing making a spot on the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in the 2004 Games next month in Athens, Hunt found on on Wednesday that he will compete for the United States after all.

After finishing third in the 200-meter backstroke on Monday behind a world-record performance from Aaron Piersol and a runner-up performance by U.S. swimming sensation Michael Phelps, on Wednesday Hunt got the good news that Phelps has withdrawn from the event to concentrate on his best events.

Hunt, who swam a time of 1:58.70, will join Piersol, who saw a blistering time of 1:54.74 at the U.S. Olympic trials in Lng Beach.

Bryce Hunt

"It was a nice little wake up call," Hunt noted after receiving the news at his hotel in California. "I didn't know what to think. There were four of us in the room out here and the coaches knocked on the door and were standing outside with a camera. When I opened the door they told me the good news.

"I'm just very lucky right now," Hunt added. "Hopefully, I can come back with a medal. This means a lot to me. All summer long I figured I could make the Olympic team. After my race (200 back) when I was third I didn't think I was going to go to Athens. I didn't know what to think or what I was going to do because all along I was planning on making the Olympic team. To represent USA and Auburn means everything now."

Hunt has already had international competition. In 2003, he competed in the FINA World Championships, placing fourth in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 1:57.92. Earlier last year he was a member of the United States' Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool roster, which pitted the Americans against the Australians, and he also placed fourth in the same event there (1:59.61).

Bryce Hunt

Hunt helped the Tigers to back to back NCAA Championships. The 2004 victory by the Tigers was one of the most dominant in NCAA swimming history.

Hunt and teammates Mark Gangloff and Caesar Garcia made the U.S. men's team while Margaret Hoelzer qualified for the U.S. women's team.

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