Work in Sports
Not for the faint of heart
University of Georgia swim coach Jack Bauerle will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. women's Olympic swim team in Sydney. In his twenty-one years at Georgia, Bauerle's swimmers have won 17 NCAA individual titles and three NCAA relay titles, and the women's swim team won the NCAA championships in 1999 and 2000. Check in with Bauerle on CNNSI.com throughout the Olympics.
Talk about the atmosphere at the pool on the first day of competition?
It was exciting as heck. It was boom, boom, boom with world records being knocked out. We were here last year for the Pan-Pac championships and 13 world records were set there. I think we'll see something similar here. Night in and night out it's going to be exciting and something to look forward to. It's not for the faint of heart.
We had a great day today and the atmosphere lends itself to great swims. Every country is cheering even if they are not competing. It's a raucous place and a raucous crowd.
We feel like we are ready to have the kind of meet we want to have. We think we are swimming better than any other country. We are absolutely ecstatic, especially about the women's 400 relay team that set a world record. The men's relay had a chance at the gold, and they were well under the world record time, but somebody else got to the wall first.
But we've told the team to make the pool your world for the next eight days and after that, we'll celebrate. Nothing else in the world is going on right now but this.
What was the key to the world-record performance turned in by the women's 4x100 freestyle team?
Our women's relay team dominated. We won it by a pretty good margin, and that was a big lift. We won by three seconds, which is remarkable at this level. We had four great splits. Everyone did their jobs, starting with Amy (Van Dyken).
We had three seasoned veterans, and the young buck, Courtney Shealy, also did her job. They just had a great relay from beginning to end. We felt like we were going to win, but you have to do it in the pool, and we didn't want to take any chances on our starts.
The key was just to get off to a good start. Australia went from fast to slow, meaning they put their fastest person out front. We had Jenny (Thompson) in the back, and she is arguably the best relay swimmer in the history of women's swimming. Even if it were close, we felt like we had the best person in the pool at the end.
Amy led off, and she's been around the block and has experience. She led us off with a 55-flat and was second in her leg. That changed real quick as soon as Dara (Torres) went in and had a split of 53.51. That put us in the lead by a second. Then Courtney went out and had the swim of her life with a 54.40, and Jenny finished up with a 53.62. I imagine she could have gone faster if needed. We wanted to swim a smart and safe race.
It's really easy to get too excited and overswim. There's an old saying in swimming that you can't make a swim in your first 25, but you can break it. We were strong in the last 25, and it was a beautiful thing to watch.
What was the difference in the men's relay?
I think Australia just got off to a strong start. Essentially, they set two world records because Michael Klim went 48.1 which is a world record for 100 meters. That was a little shock to our systems, but we were in it all the way. It was a nip-and-tuck battle on every leg. It could have gone either way. I think all of our guys raced hard. Hats off to Australia. They swam a terrific relay.
I think our team will react in a positive manner. You want to get the win, but if something doesn't go your way, you have to respond properly.
What are your impressions of Australia's Ian Thorpe?
He's a remarkable athlete. What he did tonight was amazing. He is everything they talk about, and everything they say he is. He looks better in the water than any swimmer I have ever seen. I saw him last year at Pan-Pacs, but now I'm getting my fill of him. I think he's got a good shot at four golds.
What can we expect on day two?
In the morning, we've got prelims in the 100 back for men, and prelims in the 100 breast for women. We should be strong in both of those. At night the finals should be exciting. Jenny, Dara and Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands are going in the finals of the women's 100 fly. Other finals are the men's 100 breast, men's 400 IM and women's 400 free.
We are going to be in a lot of medal races tomorrow.