Olympic Lane

Amy Dalness
2 min read
Olympic Lane
Atiba Wade trains in Clovis, N.M. (Shirley de Maio)
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The U.S. Olympic swimming trials are going on in Omaha, pitting the best pool hounds in America against one another for a slot on Team USA 2008. Swimming superstar Michael Phelps already snagged one world record, but rival/teammate Ryan Lochte also finished in world-record breaking time— Phelps just broke it more.

If you’re a swimming nerd (like me), you’ll be excited to see the result of Lochte’s race against world record-holder Aaron Peirsol in the 100-meter backstroke today. I’ve seen Lochte swim backstroke—he’s got the kick of a dolphin off the walls. The 100-meter backstroke will be a race to watch in Beijing, for sure, even though Phelps likely won’t be in it.

One thing I love about swimming is its relatively low-impact on athletes. There are swimmers in their early teens through their late 40s competing in Omaha this week and they all have a shot at making the team. Included in that opportunity is New Mexico’s own Atiba Wade, 30, who qualified for the 100-meter breaststroke and the 100- and 50-meter freestyle. Wade swam for
Coach Jim Ellis of the Philadelphia Department of Recreation before attending the University of Georgia on a swim scholarship. Wade now coaches at Santa Fe Prep and has been training in Clovis for the Olympic trials. Even if Wade doesn’t make it to Beijing (he’s seeded 69, 100 and 87, respectively, in his events), he’s a major asset to New Mexico Swimming. Seeing him compete in our state championships at West Mesa Aquatic Center this winter (and blow everyone away) was inspirational—his hard work and dedication apparent even in the two short 25-yard lengths of freestyle I witnessed him swim. It made me confident we’d see more New Mexicans compete on the national level soon. Having high-caliber athletes in the competition pool always raises the performance level of all the athletes, not to mention high-caliber-athletes-turned-coaches. Swim hard, Wade!
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