|Pioneer could boast two going for gold
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Could two Pioneer High School swimmers be going for gold at the Athens Olympics this summer? That seems possible.
Pioneer graduate Kara Lynn Joyce, a freshman at the University of Georgia, took a step in that direction with some standout performances at the NCAA swimming championships last week.
Across the Pacific Ocean, sophomore Sho Koba will soon find out if he's good enough to make the Japanese Olympic team. Koba, who recently won the 200 freestyle state championship, departed for his native land Sunday to compete in a swim meet which represents the last chance to swim under Olympic (Trial) qualifying times.
Koba will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 meter freestyle, attempting to swim under 51 seconds, 1 minute, 50.80 seconds and 3:55.90 respectively.
The U.S. Olympic trials won't take place until July 7-14 in Long Beach, Ca., but Joyce turned in several performances in College Station, Texas that should make her one of the early favorites to make the American team.
Joyce won both the 50 and 100 freestyle, setting NCAA and U.S. records in the former event. Her NCAA record in the 100 free was later broken by California's Natalie Coughlin in the opening leg of Saturday's 400 free relay. Joyce also swam on three winning relay teams, including a 200 free relay team that set a world record.
Georgia coach Jack Bauerle characterized Joyce's performance at her first NCAA meet as an "unbelievable effort."
"The relay was amazing," said Joyce, who finished in a tie for 10th in the individual high-point standings with 40 points. "What a way to finish the meet. We opened (the NCAA championships) with a world record and finished it with an American record. I could not be happier."
Rob Hoffman can be reached at (734) 994-6814 or firstname.lastname@example.org