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La Tourette feels positive about Olympic chances
OMAHA, Neb – Monday's men's 400-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials offers a two-time Olympian in the final heat of prelims, and then a lot of questions.
Chad La Tourette could emerge as one of the answers for an event in need of a boost.
The Mission Viejo Nadadores swimmer is known as a distance ace but possesses enough speed to be counted among the contenders behind favorite Peter Vanderkaay.
"I'm feeling really good about contending for that second spot (on the U.S. Olympic team)," La Tourette said.
"I think all those 500s that I did in college swimming (at Stanford) are really going to help me be prepared to get up and race on the first day – just like the 500 at NCAAs, where you got to throw all your speed right in the mix early."
The United States doesn't have a man ranked in the top 25 in the world this year in the 400 free. Vanderkaay, training in Florida under Ryan Lochte's coach, Gregg Troy, finished 2011 ranked fifth in the world with a time of 3 minutes, 44.83 seconds.
If La Tourette makes the U.S. team in the 400, he would follow a similar course charted by former Nadadores star Larsen Jensen.
In 2008, Jensen arrived at the Trials known best as the American record-holder in 1,500 free but won a close 400 against Vanderkaay to set another American record.
"That (speed) was something he definitely picked up in college swimming," La Tourette said of Jensen, who swam for Dave Salo at USC.
"Hopefully, I have a big breakout swim tomorrow, just like Larsen did."
La Tourette and Jensen both attended Mission Viejo High.
La Tourette races the 1,500 prelims Sunday.
SALO NAMED TO U.S. STAFF
Salo and Baltimore's Bob Bowman have been named assistant coaches for the U.S. Olympic team.
Former Novaquatics swimmer Jessica Hardy expressed a strong appreciation for being at Trials. In 2008, she made the U.S. team but was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. It was later determined that the positive test was the result of a tainted supplement. "Four years ago when I'm sitting on my couch in a ball crying me eyes out, I never thought I would get through it," Hardy, 25, said, "but I'm glad I survived it, really glad. I'm really excited about the opportunity to be here again."
Two-time Olympian Katie Hoff scratched the 400 IM, an event she won at Trials in 2008. ...