SWIMMING: Brainerd's Jared Anderson heads to U.S. Olympic Team Trials
Jared Anderson hopes to be a TV star.
Just kidding. But he’ll settle for a cameo performance.
An appearance on NBC would mean the Brainerd High School graduate has qualified for the semifinals (top 16) or finals (top 8) in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials June 25-July 2.
The University of Minnesota senior to be is seeded 61st in the 100 (1:03.82) and 86th in the 200 (2:19.54).
In the 100, he’s one of 144 swimmers.
“I’m somewhere in the middle,” Anderson said Wednesday, “but I think I can move up a lot. I didn’t have a good summer last summer, so I’ve got room to drop time.”
He might have a better shot to make the top 16 in the 200, in which he’s one of 134 qualifiers.
“There’s much more time there to be dropped,” Anderson said. “I never swam it much in high school so I’m still figuring it out. I can cut a little more time there. I definitely haven’t swam a great 200 (on a long course) yet. I think that’s still coming.”
Anderson qualified for the Trials by swimming the cut time for the 100 during his freshmen year at Minnesota. He swam the cut time for the 200 this spring.
The top 16 from the prelims qualify for the semifinals. The top eight advance to the finals. The top two qualify for the Summer Olympic Games July 27-Aug. 12 in London.
“Definitely, my goal right now is to get in the top 16,” Anderson said. “To get another swim would be awesome. If you make the top 16 there’s such atmosphere. You swim at night, it’s under the lights, the crowd’s into it.
“The breaststroke is a little more open than some of the other events. There’s not a lot of standout guys, no Michael Phelpses or Ryan Lochtes. Some guys are coming out of retirement, trying to make it. It’s an interesting mix.”
Phelps and Lochte were at Minnesota last fall for the Minneapolis Grand Prix. Phelps has won 14 gold medals, 16 in all, in Olympic Games. Lochte is a six-time Olympic medalist, including three golds.
“They jumped in the pool while we were practicing,” Anderson said. “It’s cool to be swimming and you look over a lane and there’s Michael Phelps jumping in. To get to swim with that caliber of a guy you get to see what they do so well, like underwater kicking. They’re unbelievable.”
Last winter, Anderson completed his most successful season as a Gopher, placing in three events at the Big Ten Championships. He was sixth in the 100 breast with a career-best time of 53.56, 10th in the 200 breast and was a member of the eighth-place 200 medley relay.
“I was in the top eight the last two years,” Anderson said of the Big Tens. “They do a ceremony where you walk out to music. They introduce everyone individually for the final heat.
“I scored last year in the 100 and 200 and got to swim on the 200 medley relay. The relays have a big atmosphere, you can enter only one, so it was cool get a spot on that.
“In the summers we do long course (meters instead of yards). I swim for Club Minnesota Aquatics, which is basically the University of Minnesota summer team. I qualified for nationals the past two years and this summer. That’s something I’m proud of, to swim in a national meet like that.”
This season, Anderson was selected academic All-Big Ten. In April, he was a recipient of a Top Five Award, given to the five males and five females with the highest cumulative grade-point average among 750 Gopher student-athletes.
At BHS, Anderson was the 2007 Minnesota State High School League champion in the 100 breaststroke. He was runner-up in the event in 2008 and 2009 and was a finalist with the 200 individual medley. He was a four-time NISCA All-American.
He will enter his final collegiate season this fall, possibly adding an event in addition to the breaststroke.
“I’m trying to break into the IM,” he said, “but it’s tough. I’ve got one stroke. You need four to be a good IMer.”
Anderson has treasured his experience as a Division I athlete. It has enabled him to swim at places like Stanford, Irvine and Mission Viejo, Calif., Ohio State and Georgia. In August, he will swim in the U.S. Open at Indianapolis.
“I’ve started to realize what a blessing it is,” he said. “You get a lot of experiences you wouldn’t otherwise get.
“I’ve enjoyed being on the team and the coaching. The opportunity to be in a Big Ten meet — it’s so intense. There are five or six teams there that are ranked in the top 20. It’s cool to swim against that kind of competition. The atmosphere is intense. There’s so much cheering and noise. It’s a crazy weekend.”
Mike Bialka, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.