Evans forgoing eligibility to train for '92 Olympics

April 04, 1991|By McClatchy News Service

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- World record-holder Janet Evans easily won the 800-meter freestyle in a time of 8 minutes, 30.75 seconds, more than 10 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kim Small (8:40.88) yesterday at the U.S. Swimming Spring Nationals taking place at the King County Aquatics Center this week.

Then, almost as calmly, Evans faced reporters and revealed what she called a "really tough" decision -- to forgo her final two years of collegiate swimming eligibility at Stanford and concentrate on her training for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.

"Because of the NCAA rules, I am giving up my eligibility and will take a year off to train for the Olympics," Evans said. "This was really, really, really tough for me. It was hard for me to leave school and my friends on the swim team. But I had to look forward to the future, and make an adult decision. It is something I didn't want to do."

The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently passed blanket restrictions on the amount of time an athlete can train or practice his sport because of concerns over graduation rates for athletes.

Evans has maintained a 3.0 grade-point average or higher since she entered Stanford in the fall of 1989, in addition to training 30 to 35 hours per week. And during the fall quarter of the current school year, she pulled a 4.0.

By giving up her scholarship and her college eligibility, Evans will immediately become eligible for financial aid from U.S. Swimming and the U.S. Olympic Committee, said Ray Essick, the executive director of U.S. Swimming.

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