Matt Grevers eyes 200m backstroke

Updated: June 20, 2012, 1:41 PM ET
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Matt Grevers isn't swimming the 200-meter backstroke just for training anymore.

After he won easily at the Mutual of Omaha Swimvitational on Saturday night, Grevers said he plans to battle Tyler Clary for the second spot in the event on the U.S. Olympic team. The first, barring unforeseen circumstances, belongs to Ryan Lochte.

Grevers won the silver medal in the 100 backstroke in 2008 in Beijing and had been using the 200 to build strength for his specialty.

The 200 was my bread-and-butter event. As soon as I graduated college I got away from it because it was a little painful. So now I'm just coming back to it and seeing where I'm at.

-- Matt Grevers on the
200-meter backstroke

But he popped a 1:57.59 in Columbus, Ohio, in March, and since then has been serious about making a run at the 200 at the trials. The trials will be held here beginning in two weeks in the same pool used for the Swimvitational.

"Ryan Lochte is going to be very fast. I hope I'm not close to him. I hope he just kills everyone because that would be great for the United States," Grevers said. "Second place is a little more open. Ty Clary, that's his spot. I don't think it would be easy to take, but maybe I'll put a little pressure on him."

Grevers won Saturday in 2 minutes, 00.82 seconds, which was more than 3 seconds faster than runner-up Andrew Teduits of Wisconsin Aquatics.

The 200 backstroke used to be Grevers' main event. He laughed as he recalled how it was the first event he ever competed in at an Olympic trials, in 2000 as a 14-year-old.

"I believe I got second to last," he said. "The 200 was my bread-and-butter event. As soon as I graduated college I got away from it because it was a little painful. So now I'm just coming back to it and seeing where I'm at."

Grevers scratched from the 100 freestyle on Friday because of training commitments in Tucson, Ariz. He'll swim the 100 backstroke on Sunday.

The Swimvitational is a dry run for the trials for the CenturyLink Center, which is host for the second straight time. The meet also is one of the last opportunities U.S. swimmers have to qualify for the trials before the June 18 deadline.

South African Roland Schoeman, who won the 100 freestyle on Friday, swam the 14th-fastest 50 free time in the world this year in winning in 22.00 seconds. Darian Townsend, Schoeman's South African teammate, won the 200 freestyle (1:49.66).

Michael Weiss of Wisconsin Aquatics picked up a win in the 400 individual medley (4:27.33) to go with his victory in the 400 freestyle on Friday.

Alyssa Anderson of the University of Arizona won the 200 freestyle (2:00.68) to finish a big day for her family. Her sister, Haley Anderson, won a spot on the U.S. Olympic team by winning the 10-kilometer title at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in Portugal. Each country qualifies just one swimmer for the 10K at the Olympics.

Alyssa's best chance of joining her sister in London would be for her to finish in the top six of the 200 freestyle at the trials, which would put her in consideration for the 4x200 relay team.

Her Arizona teammate, Margo Geer, completed a sweep of the freestyle sprints. She won the 50 in 25.20 after taking the 100 on Friday.

Canadian Monika Stitski, who swam at Wisconsin, used a strong breaststroke to beat 15-year-old Leah Stevens of Louisville, Ky., in the 400 IM (4:50.78) and Lacey Locke of Carmel, Ind., won the 200 backstroke (2:17.05).


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press