Making Waves at the NCAA Championships

1 decade 10 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, March 22 2007 Mar 22, 2007 Thursday, March 22, 2007 5:54:51 PM CDT March 22, 2007 in Tiger Talk

It's been a whirlwind year for junior swimmer Bennett Clark.

He played basketball and swam in high school, but decided to focus on the latter upon coming to Mizzou in 2004.

"It's been kind of cool to stay close to home and recruiting and everything. When I started to talk to Mizzou, I was definitely excited and that's always the school that I've wanted to go to and it's definitely been a great decision to come here," said Clark.

And he's been making waves ever since. Bennett led the team to third place in the Big 12 this season and has racked up some pretty impressive individual honors as well.

Just how fast is Bennett Clark? Well, he was one one hundredths of a second away from breaking a school record in the fifty free. That means he went off this block all the way down to the other end of the pool and back, in about 19 seconds.

A few days ago, he returned from the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis.

"All the top teams were there behind each other. It was so fast. One of the fastest meets of all time, I'd say, even including the Olympics with depth and everything. It was unbelievable," he explained.

Clark qualified for the Olympic trials last summer and says the NCAA's last week served as a great stepping stone.

"It helps me out so much because those are the types of guys that I will be going against. One of the things that separates me from a lot of those guys is that they get to swim against each other all the time in season dual meets, and I don't really get a chance to do that. So the more times I get to swim against the top competition sets me up great," Clark added.

He'll be working year round to reach his goal of swimming in Beijing in 2008. And getting a chance to see Olympians swim in his pool during the Missouri Grand Prix meet motivates him to get to that level.

"I'll take Michael Phelps beating me. You know maybe not anybody else but Michael Phelps taking down my record, I might let that one slide."

Bennett plans to spend a couple weeks this summer training in Arizona in preparation for Nationals.

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