Olympic swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce is back for thirds
Kara Lynn Joyce was 50 meters from making a third Olympic team, but in an event where anything can happen, qualifying for London was anything but a sure thing.
Joyce, of Ann Arbor, Mich., had failed to make the semifinals, let alone the Olympic team, in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials. The 50 freestyle was her last shot, and she surged to a second-place finish and punched her ticket to London.
“It is awesome,” Joyce said. “I have to pinch myself multiple times a day. I am just so happy I am here. It has been a crazy journey the past couple of years. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
After winning silver medals on relays the past two Olympics, one thing has eluded Joyce at the games — an individual medal.
“Obviously, I would love to win a gold individually,” she said. “That would be pretty awesome. I don’t know what the competition has in store.”
But Joyce knows what is in store for her in London out of the pool. With no race the first two days of the games, Joyce will be able to do something she has ever been able to do — march in the opening ceremony on Friday.
“I have never walked in an opening ceremony because I usually swim the next day,” she said. “But I will be walking for the first time. I am excited to experience it.”
She earned the experience by being one of the top two finishers in the 50 freestyle, which included four Olympians.
“It was very close,” Joyce said. “Before it started, I decided I was going to put my best race out there. This is what I trained for and dedicated the last four years for. I put my best 50 out there. It was good enough. I was just as shocked as a lot of people to see the No. 2 next to my name. It is the most shocked I have been to qualify for an Olympic games.”
It shocked the nation as the 45-year-old Dara Torres, bidding to make her sixth Olympic team, was touched out by Jessica Hardy, Joyce and Christine Magnuson.
“I've done everything I possibly could, so whatever is going to happen is going to happen,” Torres said. “That was my goal, to make the team, and (Kara Lynn) and Christine Magnuson beating me by a tenth of a second is tough, but I don't think there is anything that I could change, and for me, swimming three times and getting fourth at Olympic Trials against girls half my age.”
Joyce is 19 years younger than Torres, but she already has two Olympics under her belt as she heads to London. She will swim the 50 freestyle on Aug. 3-4.
“I am excited,” she said. “It means a lot to me. It is more than I ever thought I could accomplish. To have another shot is incredible.”
Joyce made the Athens team in 2004, swimming the 50 and 100 freestyles as well as the 400 freestyle relay. Four years ago in Beijing, Joyce finished one spot away from making the team at trials, but was added to the team when Hardy tested positive for a banned substance.