Vying for Olympic gold

 

 

By Damien Dennis

Many student-athletes across the nation have the dream of one day playing in a professional league, be it the NFL, NBA or MLB. But for athletes of other collegiate sports, a different dream can be had.

The chance to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is one many have dreamed of, including Oakland swimming’s own Alex Aceino.

“Competing in the Olympics is a childhood dream of all kids that compete in an Olympic sport,” Aceino said. “I made my goal just to make it to the trials and compete.”

The 2012 Olympic Trials for swimming took place between June 25 and July 2 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. The week-long trial event pitted swimmers from across the U.S. against each other in heats to determine the top two swimmers in each event.

Aceino competed in the 100-meter butterfly trials for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.

“Qualifying for the USA Olympic Trials is one of the ultimate tests in our sport,” head coach Pete Hovland told The Oakland Press.

For swimming, an athlete has to achieve the standard meet qualifying time in order to compete in their respected event.

“For me, that was a time of 55.29 (seconds) in the 100-meter butterfly, which I went .04 (second) faster than at the US Nationals last summer in Palo Alto, Ca.” Aceino said.

Swimming since the age of six, Aceino competed on a year-long USA swimming team when he was just 11 years old, and has won two junior national titles as part of his team’s 200 and 400 medley relays.

Entering his senior season at Oakland, Aceino has won nine Summit League conference titles in the 100 yard butterfly, 200 yard medley relay and 400 yard medley relay.

“The coaching staff at OU, Shawn Kornoelje and Hovland, have done a great job with training and motivating us not just during the NCAA season, but in the long course summer season for high level competitions such as national championships,” Aceino said.

Aceino’s coaches have worked with him not only in preparation for the Olympic trials but also during the course of the swimming season.

“Our training schedule is two to four hours of swimming a day depending if we have doubles or not, an hour of dry land (lifting/core) exercises every day with Sunday usually being our day off.  For the NCAA season, we usually have a meet on Saturday,” Aceino said.

While Aceino didn’t make the cut for the chance to compete this summer in London, the Oakland swimmer said he is happy just for the opportunity to try out.

“All of the OU athletes have competed for their home countries at the Olympics and knowing that the US team is the most difficult to make considering the caliber of swimmers we have,” Aceino said. “I know I didn’t have a shot at making it, but just competing and having a chance is good enough for me.”

Aceino finished 108th overall in his event, with a heat time of 55.79 seconds and a score of 712. A senior next season,Aceino has another year of training and competition to prepare him for the next summer Olympic events.

Aceino was joined in Omaha by fellow Oakland swimmer Alyssa Busch, who competed in the 100-meter backstroke trials. Busch also failed to make the 2012 US Olympic swim team.

Many student-athletes across the nation have the dream of one day playing in a professional league, be it the NFL, NBA or MLB. But for athletes of other collegiate sports, a different dream can be had.

The chance to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is one many have dreamed of, including Oakland swimming’s own Alex Aceino.

“Competing in the Olympics is a childhood dream of all kids that compete in an Olympic sport,” Aceino said. “I made my goal just to make it to the trials and compete.”

The 2012 Olympic Trials for swimming took place between June 25 and July 2 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. The week-long trial event pitted swimmers from across the U.S. against each other in heats to determine the top two swimmers in each event.

Aceino competed in the 100-meter butterfly trials for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.

“Qualifying for the USA Olympic Trials is one of the ultimate tests in our sport,” head coach Pete Hovland told The Oakland Press.

For swimming, an athlete has to achieve the standard meet qualifying time in order to compete in their respected event.

“For me, that was a time of 55.29 (seconds) in the 100-meter butterfly, which I went .04 (second) faster than at the US Nationals last summer in Palo Alto, Ca.” Aceino said.

Swimming since the age of six, Aceino competed on a year-long USA swimming team when he was just 11 years old, and has won two junior national titles as part of his team’s 200 and 400 medley relays.

Entering his senior season at Oakland, Aceino has won nine Summit League conference titles in the 100 yard butterfly, 200 yard medley relay and 400 yard medley relay.

“The coaching staff at OU, Shawn Kornoelje and Hovland, have done a great job with training and motivating us not just during the NCAA season, but in the long course summer season for high level competitions such as national championships,” Aceino said.

Aceino’s coaches have worked with him not only in preparation for the Olympic trials but also during the course of the swimming season.

“Our training schedule is two to four hours of swimming a day depending if we have doubles or not, an hour of dry land (lifting/core) exercises every day with Sunday usually being our day off.  For the NCAA season, we usually have a meet on Saturday,” Aceino said.

While Aceino didn’t make the cut for the chance to compete this summer in London, the Oakland swimmer said he is happy just for the opportunity to try out.

“All of the OU athletes have competed for their home countries at the Olympics and knowing that the US team is the most difficult to make considering the caliber of swimmers we have,” Aceino said. “I know I didn’t have a shot at making it, but just competing and having a chance is good enough for me.”

Aceino finished 108th overall in his event, with a heat time of 55.79 seconds and a score of 712. E

Aceino, a senior, has another year of training and competition to prepare him for the next summer Olympic events.

Aceino was joined in Omaha by fellow Oakland swimmer Alyssa Busch, who competed in the 100-meter backstroke trials.

Busch also failed to make the 2012 US Olympic swim team.

 

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Sports Editor Damien Dennis can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @djdennisOU