Sept. 15, 2009
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland's Mangione Aquatic Center, home of the Greyhounds' swimming and diving teams, was on center stage Tuesday night as it provided the venue for 14-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps to compete against NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal.
In late August, ABC taped this season's final episode of "Shaq Vs.," a show in which the four-time NBA champion and new member of the Cleveland Cavaliers takes on various sports celebrities in their respective disciplines.
Shaq came to Baltimore and swam against Phelps in three races. Phelps, who often visits and trains in the Mangione Aquatic Center at Loyola, chose to use the Greyhounds' pool for the event.
"It was a really exciting event, and it was great to see Loyola represented on national television," Loyola Head Swimming and Diving Coach Brian Loeffler said. "It was great that Michael and ABC chose our venue for the event and we were happy to be a participant."
During the show, Loyola fans packed the pool viewing areas, and the Green and Grey were well represented. Hundreds of Greyhound student-athletes, faculty and staff, members of the student body and others from the community wore their Loyola gear for the show that aired nationally on ABC.
In the first race, Shaq edged Phelps, despite the swimmer's five-second headstart. Phelps had to swim 50 meters, while Shaq only covered 25.
The NBA center had help in the second race, taking part in a 200-meter medley relay. Swimming with Olympic Champions Rebecca Soni and Dana Vollmer and World Record Holder Annamay Pierse, Shaq anchored the relay. Phelps swam the 200-meter individual medley against the relay team, and although the women provided Shaq with a nice lead going as Phelps turned for his last lap, the Baltimore native came back to win in the freestyle leg.
The best-of-three competition came down to the final race, as Phelps swam a 75-meter freestyle against Shaq's 50-meter freestyle.
Like in the Olympics, Phelps dug deep to edge his competition at the wall. Phelps outtouched Shaq by 0.17 seconds to win the competition.
To check out more about the show, and see how well Loyola was represented, click here to visit ABC's Shaq Vs. website.