- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sometimes over the past week, when she’s riding through town or watching television, the gravity of the moment hits Kate Ziegler: She’s at the Olympics.

But other times, when she’s in the pool or talking with friends and family, things feel normal.

“It goes in waves,” she said. “[Friday] we were watching the opening ceremonies, and it was so weird to be sitting there in our team room and having it just down the street. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I can hear the fireworks.’ But then other times, it feels like just another swim meet.”

Ziegler might feel different at 8:30 p.m. Beijing time Sunday, when she makes her Olympic debut in a 400-meter freestyle heat race.

The 20-year-old Jack Bauerle said.

“I think she’s more relaxed,” he said. “The trials are the trials, and sometimes getting through that is getting the monkey off your back.”

Ziegler finished second to Neb., ranks fourth best this year and ninth best all time.

Ziegler’s training in Ray Benecki, for her success.

“She’s trained exceptionally well,” Bauerle said. “It’s always fun watching Ray work with her. I don’t think there are many people in the world who work harder than Kate, and there were provisions made so Ray could be here. I like having him around because he does a terrific job for the whole team.”

Ziegler will face Hoff if both reach the finals.

Asked whether Hoff is the swimmer to beat, Ziegler said: “I wouldn’t say that at all. Katie’s definitely one of the strongest girls in the race, but Laure Manaudou won the gold medal last time.”

Ziegler’s 800 races - she’s the reigning world champion - aren’t until the weekend, but she’s focused on the 400, not the race in which she’s a gold medal favorite.

“I’m definitely focused on this race before thinking about the 800 because if I do well in this race, that will be more confidence for the 800,” she said. “I’ve dropped about a second in the last year, and it’s definitely a different race for me because it’s shorter, but I’m still looking for that speed. I don’t feel that nervous. I’ve put in all the work. Now it’s just about racing and doing my thing.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide