April 3, 2008
Minneapolis, Minn. - Loyola College freshman Phil Scholz won gold in the 400-meter freestyle at the U.S. Paralympic Trials on Thursday evening in Minneapolis, Minn. Scholz, who is competing in four events over the three-day trials, got the weekend off to a spectacular start with a personal best swim and victory in his only event of the day.
"I was very nervous coming into today's swim," said Scholz. "My times in practice were off this past two weeks. I was able to put it all together today, and I am very happy."
Scholz began the day with a personal best time in the morning preliminary. His prelim time of 5:05.69 shaved a full second off his personal best and would only be a taste of what was yet to come.
In the Thursday evening final, Scholz, who is the fifth-ranked S11 swimmer in the world in the 400 Free, shaved off another 3.5 seconds off his time, winning the event in 5:02.17.
"I have to admit, I too was nervous today," said Loyola Head Swim Coach Brian Loeffler. "We went to a Long Course Meet at Navy just after the MAAC Championships and Philip did not swim very well. It was a nice reality check for both of us and helped to focus our training for this meet."
Scholz continues his quest for the 2008 Paralympics as he continues to compete for a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team. His time of 1:12.54 in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday afternoon was the top in the field, and he will swim for another gold medal on Friday evening.
"We are swimming this meet much smarter, by focusing him to one event each of the first two days," says Loeffler. "The 400 Free and 100 Fly are the two best chances he has to make the Paralympic Team."