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July 9, 2004

Long Beach, Calif. – South Carolina All-American Jennifer VanAssen began competition on Friday morning at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials competing in the 200 meter freestyle. VanAssen placed 27th in the event with a time of 2:03.88 in attempt to earn a spot on the 2004 United States Olympic Squad that will compete in Athens, Greece this August.

16-year old Dana Vollmer placed first in the preliminaries with a time of 2:00.24, just ahead of American record holder Lindsay Benko, who took second at a time of 2:00.51. The Top 16 swimmers advance to the finals later this evening with first-place finishers in each event at Trials automatically qualifying. Second place swimmers may be added throughout the week, pending other swimmers qualifying in multiple events.

“Jennifer was real good in the first three lengths of the race,” said USC head swimming coach Don Gibb. “The last lap she ran out of gas a little bit and fell behind. She’s done a great job and will give it a shot in her other events.”

The 2004 national runner-up in both the 100 and 200 meter freestyle events at the NCAA Championships, VanAssen will next compete in the 100 freestyle preliminaries along with the 50 freestyle prelims. Also competing at the Trials next week is All-American Ashleigh Bastak, who was a member of the 200 freestyle relay team with VanAssen that placed fifth at the 2004 NCAA Championships.

In her four years at South Carolina, VanAssen rewrote the record book as the USC record holder in the 100 and 200 freestyle events as well as a member of record-breaking 200, 400 & 800 freestyle relay squads. VanAssen earned All-American honors in the 100 and 200 freestyle events in both her junior and senior seasons.