Beard DQs in 200 breaststroke
Amanda Beard was visibly upset after getting disqualified from the 200-meter breaststroke at the Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational on Friday night.
Her coach could only imagine how Beard, bidding to become a five-time Olympian, would react if it were to happen in two weeks at the U.S. trials.
''That would be a huge blow,'' Eric Hansen said. ''This is a minor inconvenience that is going to motivate her. We'll make some adjustments.''
The 30-year-old Beard is using the meet as a prep for the trials that will be held in the same pool starting June 25. She swam a strong race in the finals, finishing more than 3 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, but was DQ'd because her elbows weren't underwater during the recovery portion of the stroke.
It was the same offense that got her disqualified from the Swimvitational preliminaries in 2008. Beard didn't speak with reporters, but Hansen said it's extremely rare to get DQ'd for making an improper stroke.
''You better be looking really close if you're going to be calling that,'' he said.
The Swimvitational attracted a largely undistinguished field of competitors who are looking to beat the June 18 for qualifying for the trials. Four years ago, the meet was a precursor to the first time Omaha hosted the trials and drew Michael Phelps and many other stars.
Matt Grevers, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 100 backstroke, was a scratch in the 100 freestyle. USA Swimming spokeswoman Karen Linhart gave no explanation but said Grevers would swim Saturday in the 200 backstroke.
University of Arizona swimmer Carl Mickelson won the 200 breaststroke in a mild upset, beating ex-UA swimmer Clark Burckle and current UA star and defending NCAA 100 breaststroke champion Kevin Cordes. Mickelson swam the final 50 meters in 34.50 seconds - more than a second faster than anyone else - and touched in 2:14.07.
Mickelson's emergence casts him as another swimmer to watch in what's expected to be a wide-open competition in the event at the trials.
''I considered myself a little bit of a dark horse going in,'' he said. ''Getting up and racing guys like Clark and Cordes, it puts things in perspective for me that I can accomplish what I want to do in a couple of weeks.''
Roland Schoeman, who will be competing in his fourth Olympics at age 31, beat fellow South African Darian Townsend to win the 100 freestyle in a personal-best 49.07.
''What's nice about this is that it's a fantastic pool, and the entire setup is like the world championships,'' Schoeman said. ''You can sort of dress rehearse for the Olympics.''
Beard, who first swam in the Olympics at age 14, made the 2008 U.S. team after spending a considerable amount of time away from the sport.
Her time of 2:28.23 on Friday easily beat University of Wisconsin swimmer Brittany Kimmitt's 2:31.45. But Hansen said officials told him that her elbows rose above the water a couple times.
''She wasn't real happy and she was in disagreement with the call,'' Hansen said. ''You think about this as a tuneup meet, but the thing that makes her great is that she takes all these very seriously. So it's not something you push away and cast off and say `no big deal.' ''
Hansen said it's his job to make sure Beard doesn't dwell on the disqualification and let it affect how she performs at the trials.
''I would never bet against her regardless of what her training has been,'' he said. ''Her training has been great. But even if it wasn't I wouldn't bet against her because she is so competitive.''