Badger swimmers to enter Olympic Trials

10 current and former UW athletes will fight for a trip to Athens

As if the stellar NCAA Championship finishes and new school and conference records were not enough, the Wisconsin men's and women's swimming teams found another reason to celebrate this season: several swimmers are heading to the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Long Beach, Calif.

The Wisconsin Aquatics club will send 11 members—including 10 current or former Badgers—to the trials, which begin Wednesday and run through July 14. The 11th team member is Madison native Jennifer Skolaski, a swimmer and senior-to-be at Iowa.

"We look forward to the opportunity that the U.S. Trials presents," UW head swimming coach Eric Hansen said. "This team of 11 athletes has already made dramatic improvements this summer and we look forward to having a great meet."

Adam Mania, a senior-to-be, already had a great meet and has qualified for the Olympics—in Poland. He has dual citizenship and competed for a spot on the Polish National squad in early June, winning both the 100 and 50-meter backstroke. Mania will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 backstrokes.

Mania will be one of approximately 700 swimmers competing for U.S. roster spots. In all but two events, the top two finishers head to Greece. The exception is in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events, where the top six advance, with four of the six participating in relays.

In addition to Mania, six other current Badgers will take part in the event: junior Sarah Hernandez, sophomore Susan Johnson, senior Carly Piper, junior Amalia Sarnecki, junior Anna Trinidad and senior Tim Liebhold. Three recently departed Badgers—Matt Marshall, Dale Rogers and Bethany Pendleton—will also try for a trip to Greece. All of these Badgers competed at the NCAA Championships last spring.

"All 11 of these athletes have prepared for this meet their entire careers," Hansen said. "Their consistent work ethic is the driving force of our optimism for the upcoming meet."

Pendleton, the female Wisconsin athlete of the year, had a season to remember, setting a new Big Ten standard in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:08.92 in the Big Ten Championships. She took fourth in the 400 IM at the NCAA Championships and fifth in the 200 IM; she will compete at the trials in these events.

Johnson, the youngest Badger participant, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season and earned All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. She will compete in the 200-meter backstroke at the trials.

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