PHILADELPHIA - The last time the University of Pennsylvania swimming & diving teams were represented at the U.S. Olympic Trials was 1992, when Steve Kuster competed. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1976, when Rob Cragg dove at the Trials.
As a sign of the progress of both programs, the Penn men's and women's swimming programs will have six individuals competing at this year's Olympic Trials -- one recent graduate, two returning student-athletes, and three incoming student-athletes. The Trials begin Monday in Omaha, Neb.
"It is a great measure of the level of our program to have so many Penn kids competing at the highest level our sport offers," said the man who has overseen the jump in the programs' fortunes, Head Coach Mike Schnur. "My goal for all of our swimmers at this meet is very simple: Enjoy the experience, appreciate the opportunity you have earned, and swim your hearts out."
Brendan McHugh, who graduated in May, is scheduled to compete in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. The 100 breast will begin with heats during the Trials' first day, Monday, while the semifinals will run that night. The men's 100-meter breaststroke final will take place during the evening session on Tuesday. The 200 breast heats will take place during the morning session on Thursday, June 28, with the semifinals that evening. The men's 200 breaststroke final will take place during the evening session on Friday, June 29.
McHugh's teammate at Penn, rising junior Rhoads Worster, has qualified for the Trials in the 100 butterfly. Heats for that event will take place on Saturday, June 30, with semifinals taking place that evening. The men's 100-meter butterfly final will take place in the evening session on Sunday, July 1.
From the Penn women's team, rising junior Shelby Fortin is slated to compete Tuesday morning in the 400 freestyle heats. The final will take place that night.
In addition, three incoming student-athletes will join their future teammates Worster and Fortin at the Trials. Bradley Wachenfeld (Basking Ridge, N.J.) will compete in the men's 400 freestyle, which will run heats Monday morning and the final that evening; Annie McCotter (Cherry Hill, N.J.) is in the women's 200 butterfly, which will run heats on Thursday, June 28, its semifinals that night, and the final on Friday, June 29; and Chris Swanson (Tampa, Fla.) is in the field for the men's 1,500 freestyle, which will hold its heats the morning of Sunday, July 1 and its final the evening of Monday, July 2.