Olympic Swim Trials: Aquazot's Merrell handling nerves

June 27th, 2016, 1:24 pm ·

· posted by DAN ALBANO

OMAHA, Neb. -- Dropping time at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials is no small feat.

Mission Viejo Nadadores coach Bill Rose said in Sunday’s opening session of prelims that only 17 percent of swimmers improved their seed time.

That statistic could support the theory that the Trials are more pressure-filled than the Olympics.

“Once you’re at the Olympics, you’re an Olympian (forever),” said Aquazot coach Brian Pajer, who raced at the Trials in 1988 and 1992. “But when you’re here (at Trials) and you work this hard and you’re right there for it and you don’t make it, then you’re not. A lot of people put a lot of pressure on themselves because of that.”

Newport Beach’s Eva Merrell, 16, said she dealt with some nerves the first two days of Trials.

“I knew it wasn’t going to hit me until I walked on deck and saw everything,” said Merrell, who has three more event remaining. “But I think I’m handling the nerves pretty well. They’re not taking over me.”

The ex-Corona del Mar standout is enjoying the athlete accommodations at Trials such as massages, a lounge and hot tub. “I got a massage,” she said. “It was really nice.”


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