I found an interesting article by Tim Sullivan about Joe Hudepohl, which
appeared in the June 19 Cincinnati Enquirer. Hudepohl is a 18-year-old who won
the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials. I was lucky enough to see
him swim at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state swim meet in
February, where he swam a 50 in 20 seconds.
The following is a summary with excerpts of the story, "Hudepohl talks of
winning, not placing."
"...Lest anyone sell him short, Joe Hudepohl is looking to reign in Spain.
"'Gold is definitely my goal,' the Cincinnati swimmer said Thursday, barely two
weeks removed from his high school graduation...
"When he won the 200-meter competition at the United States Olympic Trials in
March, Hudepohl's time of 1:48.73 was more than two seconds slower than the
world record (Giorgio) Lamberti set in 1989 (1:46.69). To close that gap,
Hudepohl embarked on a tortuous training program that at one stage involved
90,000 meters of work per week... (I)t may have been too much.
"For seven days in May, Joe Hudepohl was fortunate to be able to crawl out of
bed. He ran a steady fever of 102 degrees. If his body was trying to tell
him to back off, it make its point with mononucleosis. In retrospect, Hudepohl
thinks he needed the rest, for the only lingering effect seems to be that his
laps don't last as long.
"...Simon said, '...He's 10 percent to 15 percent ahead of where he was when he
went into the trials.'
"'Basically, I'm training a lot more consistent than I was,' Hudepohl said.
'Every day I'm doing something good.'
"Except for the illness, Hudepohl's progress has been steady since a pre-trials
visit to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. THere, his
stroke was studied in digital detail and problem Simon had suspected was
proved. Hudepohl's left hand was losing some of its effectiveness as he pulled
it beneath his body...
"'I don't think Joe swam that well at trials,' Simon said. 'He swam well enough
to win. But Joe made the comment, which meant a lot to me, that if it had taken
a faster time for him to win, he felt he could have done it.'
"Hudepohl's pattern in big races has been to hang close to the leaders for the
first 100 meters and then to bury them with a big finish following the last
turn. He expects to spend more of himself early against Lamberti, who seized
command at last January's world championships with a blistering third leg.
"'All the pressure's going to be on him since he's the world record holder,'
Hudepohl said. 'Right now, other than in the U.S., I don't think anybody knows
who I am or expects me to do anything over there."
I guess we'll see soon if the world will get a surprise.