A sea change

In the wake of Michael Phelps' success, his sport has entered the era of the `professional' swimmer

Beijing 2008

Six Weeks To Go

June 29, 2008|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,Sun Reporter

OMAHA, Neb. -- As a young man, Michael Phelps dreamed of the day he would, in his words, change the sport of swimming in America.

He wanted to revolutionize it, drag it into the mainstream and elevate the sport's profile beyond what once seemed possible.

U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Today-next Sunday, Qwest Center, Omaha, Neb.

AT A GLANCE

What: U.S. Olympic swimming trials

Where: Qwest Center, Omaha, Neb.

When: Today-next Sunday

Swimmers to watch: Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, Natalie Coughlin, Brendan Hansen, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Peirsol, Ian Crocker, Gary Hall Jr., Dara Torres

Tentative events for Phelps: 100- and 200-meter freestyles, 200 and 400 individual medleys, 100 and 200 backstrokes, and 100 and 200 butterflies

Tentative events for Hoff: 200 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 400 IM and the 100, 200, 400 and 800 freestyles

TV: Today, 8-9 p.m., chs. 11, 4; tomorrow-Thursday, 8-9 p.m., USA;Friday-July 6, 8-9 p.m., chs. 11, 4

Making the team: The top swimmer in each event earns a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, which will take 26 men and 26 women to Beijing. The swimmer who finishes second in each event will most likely make the Olympic team, although the athlete's official selection is made by the U.S. Olympic committee.

Strokes: Athletes compete in four disciplines - butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. There are no relay events at the U.S. trials.

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