Despite her status as a world champion, Elizabeth Beisel had to shake off some nerves en route to her convincing 400m individual medley victory at the US Olympic swimming trials.
“I was so nervous,” said Beisel, 19. “You never know what to expect going into trials. It’s one of the biggest meets of your life. You don’t want to throw away all the hard work you’ve done.”
Four years ago, Beisel made the Olympic team as a 15-year-old, but failed to win a medal in Beijing.
Since then she has gained plenty of international experience, including capturing the 400m medley world title in Shanghai last year.
“This time, I had my mindset where I have something to lose this year, so I was more nervous this time around,” she said.
“But I think now I can pretty much relax for the rest of the meet,” she added.
Beisel’s time of 4 minutes, 31.74 seconds was the fastest in the world this year, supplanting the 4:32.20 clocked by China’s Zheng Rongrong in January.
Beisel won world gold last year ahead of Britain’s Hannah Miley and world record-holder Stephanie Rice of Australia.
Rice is set to defend both her 200m and 400m medley Olympic titles in London, winning both events at the Australian trials in March to allay fears that she would still be hindered by a troublesome shoulder that required surgery in December.
The late US trials date makes for a quick turnaround for US swimmers before competition begins in the London pool on July 28.