Brad Erickson has been around for a whole bunch of Olympic Trials during 36 years as the South Dakota State swimming and diving coach, but his program has never been as involved as it will be this time around in Omaha.
Recent standout Katie (Budahl) Price, a graduate of Mitchell High, will wwim in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke on Tuesday and the 200-meter breaststroke on Friday at the CenturyLink Center. The 24-year-old, who is married to former SDSU baseball coach and current Kansas assistant Ritchie Price, is seeded 58th in the 200 (2:33.83) and 126th in the 100 (1:11.94).
She’s the first swimmer in the Erickson era to reach the Trials.
Another recent SDSU women’s standout (and former Miss South Dakota) Alex Hoffman will be performing the National Anthem before the finals session on Friday. Hoffman, who swam with Price in college, works for the ABC affiliate in Omaha. She once sang the Anthem after popping out of the pool for some practice laps at the Summit League championships. By comparison, this should be easy.
But likely to take the prize for busiest former Jackrabbit at the Trials: Dean Ekeren, the events and marketing director for USA Swimming. He’s held that position for 12 years. The Trials, which were also held on Omaha in 2008, consist of 15 sessions over eight days, includes some 1,500 athletes and should draw in the range of 150,000 people.
Needless to say, Erickson is proud of all the connections and hopes to take in at least one day at the Trials. After all, it should be relatively easy to get tickets.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.