With the 2012 Summer Olympics in London fast approaching, a host of Stanford athletes have been competing in the trials for various sports in the hopes of fulfilling their Olympic dreams.
At the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, Jillian Camarena-Williams earned her second straight berth in the shot put event. The 2004 Stanford graduate beat out the competition with a toss of 62 feet, 10.5 inches, giving her the de facto national title. After winning a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in the shot put, she will be vying for a place on the podium in London.
Also heading to London will be Arantxa King, an All-American fifth-year senior and graduate student this past season. King will take part in the long jump, an event that she also competed in four years ago in Beijing.
On the men’s side, recent graduate Chris Derrick narrowly missed a U.S. Olympic team berth by placing fourth in the 10,000 meters with a time of 27:40.23. Derrick got off to a strong start and pushed the leaders for much of the race but could not hold on for the top-three finish that was needed to earn a trip to London. His gutsy performance came less than two months after he set a new collegiate record in the 10,000 at the Payton Jordan Invitational.
In women’s volleyball, former Cardinal players middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo and outside hitter Logan Tom were named to the 12-member U.S. team, currently the top-ranked team in the world. In 2008, Akinradewo was the Volleyball Magazine Co-National Player of the Year while Tom was the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year.
On the diving board, rising sophomore Kristian Ipsen will be heading to London to compete in the 3-meter synchronized event with his partner, Troy Dumais, after they won the event at the trials. Ipsen barely missed qualifying for a second event—the 3-meter individual dive—when he finished third, just 1.25 points short of second place. Joining Ipsen will be 2007 graduate Cassidy Krug, who won the women’s 3-meter individual event to clinch her first Olympic berth.
Both Ipsen and Krug will have a familiar face guiding them during the Games, as Stanford diving head coach Rick Schavone will be the assistant women’s and men’s diving coach of the U.S. Olympic team. This marks the first time that the veteran skipper, who has been at the helm of Stanford diving for 34 years, will be on an Olympic coaching staff.
The Cardinal came agonizingly close to sending some of its swimmers to London. In the 200-meter butterfly, recently graduated Bobby Bollier was less than seven-tenths of a second from landing a spot on the U.S. team. Bollier swam the top time in both the preliminary and semifinal heats, beating defending Olympic champion Michael Phelps in the semifinal race. Chad La Tourette, also a 2012 graduate, likewise finished third in the 1,500-meter freestyle and missed the team by just one spot. The experienced distance swimmer led the race for the entire first 1,250 meters but faded in the final laps.
Rising junior Maya DiRado also came close to grabbing a spot on the U.S. women’s swimming team. The Cardinal standout placed fourth in both the 200 and 400 individual medley events.
In gymnastics, rising sophomore Kristina Vaculik will be representing Canada in London after she won on the uneven bars and took second in both the beam and all-around program events at the Canadian Olympic Trials. Vaculik had a strong freshman campaign for the Cardinal this past season, including scoring 9.875 on the bars at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional.