Jimmy Feigen is the one to watch in Omaha this week. As one of the fastest freestyle sprinters in the world, Feigen is a favorite to earn a trip to London during this week’s U.S. Olympic trials.
This past season Feigen established himself as a premier swimmer after coming home from the 2012 NCAA Championships with two individual championships and a first place relay finish. After three years of finishing in the top five, Feigen finally finished first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.01 seconds and first in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 41.95 seconds.
With two individual crowns on his resume, Feigen is aiming for something a little bit bigger — a spot in London to compete against the best from around the world and a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.
“Jimmy is probably one of the most talented swimmers in USA swimming right now. He has a great stroke and great talent,” said Ricky Berens, former Longhorn teammate. “He hates to lose. He’s very focused and internally motivated. He’s a huge asset for UT and hopefully will be at the Olympics for Team USA.”
Feigen’s solid senior season will be a huge advantage as he competes in Omaha. As a freshman in 2008, Feigen took a shot at a trip to Beijing, but was not able to make it out of prelims in his two events. He finished 28th in the 50-yard and 40th in the 100-yard freestyle events that year.
“I knew that 2008 wasn’t going to be my year, but I’ve been looking forward to 2012 my whole life,” Feigen said.
Feigen will compete for a chance to represent the United States in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events in addition to a possible relay spot. The Olympic races are considered long course races, which are done in meters, as opposed to the short course races, done in yards, seen at the NCAA Championships.
This won’t be the first time that Feigen has competed for the United States. He finished second in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2011 ConocoPhillips National Championships. At the 2011 World University Games in China, Feigen took home golds in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay. He currently holds a spot on the U.S. National Team.
“You can never turn down an opportunity to put on a USA cap and represent America,” Feigen said of competing for the United States. “It meant a lot to wear the USA cap. It was absolutely fantastic. It was a really humbling experience, to say the least, but also a totally fulfilling and wonderful experience.”
Feigen also holds the American record in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay, and he’s a 17-time All-American.
At Texas, Feigen holds five school records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays, and 200-yard medley relay. Feigen was on the 2010 Longhorn squad that were crowned NCAA Champions.
Feigen’s major competition in the pool this week includes former University of California Golden Bear Nathan Adrian. In addition to also having individual NCAA championships in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, Adrian currently holds the U.S. record for both freestyle event lengths. He will be competing for his second trip to the Olympics and another medal to go with his 400-meter relay gold from Beijing.
But Feigen won’t let Adrian, or anyone else, get in the way.
Earlier this summer, Feigen beat one of the best swimmers in American history, Michael Phelps, at the Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite. Feigen won the 100-meter freestyle event with a time of 48.63, a personal best, while Phelps clocked in at 49.05.
“I live for the pressure and will embrace it come trials,” Feigen said. “[I] will move the earth to accomplish my dreams.”