Meyer Hopes To Enjoy Second Trip To Olympic Swimming Trials

Mark Meyer swimmingBy Eric Meany

In 2008, recent Walt Whitman High School graduate Mark Meyer had his trip to the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials cut short by obligations to his new school.

Like all incoming freshman at the United States Naval Academy, Meyer was required to participate in Plebe Summer, an intensive seven-week training program designed to “turn civilians into midshipmen.” So after finishing third in his preliminary heat and 36th overall in the men’s 200-meter butterfly at the trials in Omaha, Nebraska, Meyer traveled directly to Annapolis early the next morning to participate in Induction Day.

This year’s trials begin on Monday, and with his time at the Naval Academy behind him Meyer hopes to enjoy the experience more than he was able to four years ago.

“It should be a little bit more fun,” Meyer said. “This time I’ll get to stick around and enjoy the festivities instead of coming to the Naval Academy for Plebe Summer. [In 2008] I had to leave a little bit early… I couldn’t stay throughout the whole meet and just watch and enjoy it.”

Meyer was named First-Team All-Patriot League in each of his four years at the Naval Academy and finished first in the 200-yard butterfly in the 2011 and 2012 Patriot League Championships. At Whitman he was dominant in many events and still holds six school records. He said he is looking forward to his return to the trials as a good way to wrap up his successful run as a competitive swimmer.

“It’s nice to go back there to finish up my career,” Meyer said. “I think it will probably be my last meet ever, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Meyer, seeded 58th this year in the men’s 200-meter butterfly, will be joined in Omaha by his older brother, Adam, also a Naval Academy and Whitman graduate, and his younger sister, Charlotte, a rising senior at Whitman. Adam is seeded 96th in the men’s 200-meter butterfly and 70th in the men’s 200-meter individual medley, while Charlotte is seeded 79th in the women’s 200-meter backstroke.

Another Whitman alum, Danielle Schulkin of Harvard, is seeded 56th in the women’s 200-meter butterfly.

The top two finishers in each event at the trials will qualify to join the U.S. team for the Olympic Games in London beginning July 28. Among Montgomery County swimmers, Stone Ridge rising sophomore Katie Ledecky from Bethesda is in the best position to join the team. The 15-year-old is seeded third in the women’s 800-meter freestyle, fifth in the women’s 400-meter freestyle and 13th in the women’s 200-meter freestyle.

Walter Johnson High School will be well represented in Omaha, with 2012 graduate James Powell set to join alums Eric Friedland of the University of Texas and Elizabeth Pepper of Florida State. Powell, who will attend the University of Georgia in the fall, is seeded 39th in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle and 69th in the men’s 200-meter backstroke. Friedland is seeded 8th in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke, 11th in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke and 96th in the men’s 200-meter individual medley. Pepper is seeded 71st in the women’s 200-meter butterfly and 115th in the women’s 200-meter freestyle.

Jack Conger, Sarah Haase and Catherine Mulquin from Our Lady of Good Counsel are each set to compete in the trials as well. Conger is seeded 9th in the men’s 200-meter backstroke, 15th in the men’s 100-meter backstroke,  19th in the men’s 100-meter butterfly and 74th in the men’s 50-meter freestyle. Haase is seeded 25th in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, 82nd in the women’s 200-meter individual medley and 99th in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. Mulquin is seeded 164th in the women’s 100-meter backstroke. Princeton’s Megan Waters, a Good Counsel graduate, is seeded 46th in the women’s 50-meter freestyle and 112th in the women’s 100-meter freestyle.

Wootton graduate Stephen Sakaris of Ohio State is the 96th seed in the men’s 200-meter freestyle.

Other local competitors include Georgetown Prep alum Brady Fox of the University of Virginia, Damascus alum Michael Wodoslawsky from the University of Delaware, Caroline McTaggart of Holton-Arms and Northwestern University’s Jenny Wilson from Bethesda.

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