June 26, 2016
OMAHA, Neb. -- University of Michigan graduate and men's swimming alum Connor Jaeger (2011-14) rallied to win the 400-meter freestyle and clinch his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team during the first day of Team Trials on Sunday (June 26) at the CenturyLink Center. He will be making his second trip to the Olympics after making the team in the 1,500-meter freestyle in 2012.
Jaeger came into the race seeded fourth (3:47.97) but clearly conserved some energy for tonight's final. With 150 yards to go, Jaeger was in fourth place behind Clark Smith, Townley Haas and Conor Dwyer but found the strength to overtake all three and touch the wall first at 3:43.79, nearly a full second ahead of Dwyer (3:44.66).
"Diving in, I feel like I'm pushing it pretty hard, and I'm still staring at Conor Dwyer's feet the entire race," Jaeger said. "I almost had an out-of-body experience at the 200, thinking, 'Man, am I out of this or am I going to turn it around?' I basically said there was no giving up. I just went until I couldn't feel my legs or arms anymore. The last 50, I peeped over and I was ahead. It was an incredible realization. I just went as hard as I could. I couldn't believe I placed first."
He was just a second off the American record of 3:42.78, held by Larsen Jensen (2008). The last Michigan swimmer to make the U.S. Olympic Team in the 400-meter freestyle was Peter Vanderkaay, who won a bronze medal in 2008.
"I got a text from him (Peter) saying he was shaking so much that he could barely type on his phone," Jaeger said. "Going into the race, more than I wanted to make the team or more than I wanted to win, it had to be Michigan that was going to win that race, and that's how I approached it."
Jaeger is also scheduled to swim the 200-meter individual medley, the 200-meter freestyle and 1,500-meter freestyle.
Communications Contact: Brad Rudner