OMAHA, Neb. - When Arizona's Adam Ritter won the 2007 NCAA championship in the 200 IM, he was the third-fastest swimmer in the history of that event, blowing the doors off, among others, future Olympian Matt Grevers, then a Northwestern swimmer.
Today, it's likely that Ritter, a 17-time All-American at Arizona, will swim his last competitive race. Ironically, it's the 200 IM in the preliminary heats at the U.S. Olympic trials.
So far in Omaha, Ritter has finished 13th in the 200 freestyle, 15th in the 100 breast stroke and 34th in the 100 freestyle. At 27, the former UA homecoming king is completing a terrific career.
"I had a job for a couple of years, working for my uncle's engineering firm in Florida," said Ritter, who graduated from Arizona with an engineering degree. "But I still had that competitive spirit, so I moved back to Tucson and trained for the trials again."
Ritter opened the week in a 200 freestyle heat against, of all people, Michael Phelps.
"I've raced against Michael before; it's great to race the best," Ritter said. "It has driven me to do better. If these are my last races, fine. It's been great."
Recent Douglas HS grad Young looks toward 2016
A month after graduating from Douglas High School, Brandon Young was at the CenturyLink Center early Thursday morning, a bit nervous for his debut in the trials.
He did not have his best swim, finishing the 200 breast stroke in 2:26.36, about six seconds behind his qualifying time.
"It's a good experience to see where I'm at, but it's not what I wanted; it was too slow," said Young, who will swim for the Utah Utes this year. "In four years I'm going to be back here and make the finals or semifinals."
Young has trained periodically with the Tucson Ford Aquatics club team and, once he arrives on campus at Utah, will be able to train year-round for the first time in his swimming career.
"I felt good in the water in the warmup pool, but when the race began, it hurt a lot more than I thought it would," he said. "I've just got to get faster."
Moses 'determined to go down swinging'
Twelve years after winning gold and silver medals at the Sydney Olympics, Tucson Ford Aquatics swimmer Ed Moses officially retired from swimming Thursday.
He was 18th in the 200 breast stroke prelims; the top 16 advance to today's semifinals. Moses, 31, has been training in Tucson for about a year.
"It's very humbling, but it's a good way to end my career," he said. "I'm walking away way better than I did in 2004."
At the 2004 U.S. swimming trials, Moses, seeded No. 1, failed to make the Olympic team. He then retired from swimming, attempted to become a pro golfer and, recently, has been involved in a marketing and video company in Los Angeles.
"I killed myself training in Tucson this last year," he said. "I knew I wasn't going to make it coming in, but I was determined to go down swinging. I was chasing my old self."
Longtime coach DeMont celebrates with Grevers
After Tucsonan Matt Grevers won the 100 backstroke Wednesday, qualifying for his second Olympiad, he summoned longtime UA swimming coach Rick DeMont from the crowd to be part of the on-to-London ceremony.
DeMont, a former world-record holder and UA coach for 25 years, has coached Grevers since he moved from Chicago to Tucson five years ago.
"The first person I see getting out of the pool is Rick DeMont," said Grevers. "I don't know how long we have been together now, 2007. He was right next to my brother, and they're almost crying, they're so excited."
Ex-Cat Burckle qualifies 1st for 200 breast stroke finals
Former UA national champion Clark Burckle qualified first overall for tonight's finals of the 200 breast stroke and will face significant challenges from Olympians Eric Shanteau and Brendan Hansen, who were less than a half-second back.
Burckle was fifth in the 2008 trials and is thus motivated to break through. His sister, Carolina, made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the 4x200 relay.
"Clark's in the driver's seat," said UA coach Eric Hansen. "Nobody has prepared for this like he has. This is his time."