OMAHA, NE – The "fastest swim meet in the world," the 2012 U.S Olympic Swimming Trails was the setting for the end of one Eph swimming career and the end of three Eph swimmers' 2012 seasons.
The trials are used to select the U.S. team for the upcoming London Olympics and all events are contested in meters, as opposed to U.S. collegiate races that are measured in yards, which can skew one's view of the results based on season best times.
Nearly three months after the end of their traditional swim season in March, senior Logan Todhunter and junior Caroline Wilson competed in the U.S. women's trials and junior Paul Dyrkacz (first Eph male qualifier under head coach Steve Kuster) competed in the men's trials. "Between our school season and spring training for this meet we only had four days off," stated Caroline Wilson. "It's not easy to train out of season here at Williams, especially during the end of the year with exams, but having Logan, coach [Kuster], and Paul there really got me through. I was so happy to have other teammates and my coach with me, and it was really cool to be able to represent Williams College.
"I thought our three swimmers held their own," said Eph head coach Steve Kuster. "Certainly it was not an easy environment to compete in. Only about 25% of the people entered were swimming faster than entry times. For my three this meet was like nothing we'd ever prepared for, especially with the knowledge that they would only have one crack at their event(s). The atmosphere was outstanding and certainly it was a great meet to be apart of."
Dyrkacz -- 200 breaststroke -- 2:19.58 -- 65th of 132 qualifiers
Wilson -- 200 IM -- 2:20.29 -- 71st of 124
Wilson -- 400 IM -- 5:03.51 -- 115th of 128
Todhunter -- 100 butterfly -- 1:02.91 -- 127th of 164
Todhunter ended her competitive swimming career as an Eph when she competed in the 100-meter butterfly event. Junior Caroline Wilson competed in both the 200- and 400-meter individual medley events, while junior Paul Dyrkacz toed the starting block in the 200-meter breaststroke.
"Logan finished her career in a terrific fashion with a solid 100 fly and a best time in the 200 fly that she time trialed by almost 3 seconds," noted Kuster. "Paul and Caroline also had solid swims and will certainly use the experience as motivation heading into their senior years. From the week after NCAA's in March through the trials, these three did a great job with training, motivation and racing out at Trials. I really think they got as much as possible out of the whole experience."
"I always think the NCAAs is a packed meet, but these Trials surpassed anything I had ever seen," noted Caroline Wilson.
"Unfortunately, I didn't do as well in my events as I had hoped to," Wilson said. "My 200IM however, was better than my 400IM. But this meet to me was all about the experience. Being there was incredible enough. It took my lifetime best swims to get there, so I knew topping those after only a season of spring training would be difficult."
"Competing in Trials was like a realization of my entire journey in swimming," Wilson added. "Before I came to Williams, my all-time goal was to make US Nationals (a meet that happens every summer) assuming that the Olympic Trials would be too far fetched of a goal. Being there, at the highest meet the US has, was just incredible. It made everything else I have endured the past 14 years worth it. Not only that, but there was so much US pride and American spirit, it was cool to see all the spectators cheering on everyone. Even though everyone was competing, everyone there was on the same team, and that was something I had never seen before. Go USA!"
After being a part of the Trials as well as witnessing a lot of incredible races (for the top 2 spots), I can safely say I have never been so motivated to do even better next year," Wilson offered. "You know what they say – Last one fast one!"