June 27, 2008
Baltimore, Md. - Former Loyola College swimmer Jamie Barone will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials that begin this weekend. Barone, who captained the Greyhounds in 2001 and 2002, also assisted Head Coach Brian Loeffler in 2003-04. He will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Barone, who is 28 years of age, has trained for the past three and a half months after taking a two-year break from the sport.
"I've had an amazing time so far just preparing for the meet, and that was my goal. My final time, while important, won't mean as much to me as the last three and a half months of training," said Barone. "While more complicated, [balancing work, life and swimming] it has been a more fulfilling experience overall. After the two-year break from 2006-2008, I realize how much I missed pushing myself and competing, especially at that level, and knew that someday, I'd regret not going to Trials."
Barone came to Loyola after leading Fairfield Prep to its only State Open Swim Championship. He quickly set Loyola school records and MAAC records at Evergreen, and is the current school record holder in the 100 Breast and 200 Breast as well as a member of the record-holding 400 Medley Relay team.
As a senior at Loyola, Barone joined the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC), where he trained under Coach Bob Bowman for three years. He was named the "Rookie of the Meet" at Senior Nationals in 2002 and was a member of the 2006 National Champion 4x100 Medley Relay team that included Michael Phelps, Klete Keller and Davis Tarwater.
Barone, while remaining focused on the Trials, attributes much of his success in the pool to learning how to have fun.
"The most important thing I've learned through all this is that having fun with the process is the key to swimming fast. As soon as you take your focus off the "time" and learn to enjoy all that this sport has to offer, thing just seem to fall into place," says Barone. "Being relaxed and having fun leads to success, but only after you have done the necessary work."
Barone qualified for the 2004 Olympic Trials and placed 12th in the 100 Breast. His seed entering this year's Trials is 21st. When asked about his thoughts about competing at the Olympic Trials for the second time, Barone was ecstatic.
"I'm actually more excited for the trials this time around than last time. It's a much different experience going just to have fun instead of going with all these expectations I heaped upon myself, said Barone. "I've learned a lot from my time out of the pool, and decided from the beginning I would be happy with any outcome."
The 100 Breast Trials begin on Sunday in Omaha, Nebraska. The events will be televised by NBC and USA Network throughout the week. Ticket and Trial information can be found at H2Omaha.com.
"The pool is unlike anything I've ever been in before," added Barone. "While there were only about 2,500 people at finals earlier this month, it was very loud with an energy that was palpable. I honestly cannot imagine what it's going to be like with 12,500 people there. If ever there was going to be a place to have a great swim, it will be in that pool. They have created an environment that will foster greatness."