Swimmers go for gold at Olympics

Virginia will be well represented in swimming events at the Sydney Olympic Games. The opening ceremonies are Friday.

Two current and two ex-Cavalier swimmers will represent their nations in Sydney. Sophomores Guy Yimsomruay and Mirjana Bosevska will swim for Thailand and Macedonia, respectively. Yimsomruay will race in the 200-meter individual medley, while Bosevska will be competing in her second Olympics, this time in the 400 and 800 freestyle and the 400 IM.

The two ex-Cavs are Shamek Pietucha, a 1999 Virginia graduate, and third-year College student Ed Moses, who left the Cavalier team last spring to hire an agent and pursue endorsements. Pietucha will swim for Canada in the 100 and 200 butterfly. Moses will gun for the 100 title in the breaststroke and will be part of the 400 medley relay team, all for the United States.

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    Out of the four, Moses has the best shot at taking home a medal. The Burke, Va., native set an American record in the 100 breast at the U.S. Olympic Trials and can make further waves in Sydney. Moses said one of his primary goals is keeping the U.S. team on pace with the favored Australians, who boast a potential four-gold winner in Ian Thorpe. At only 17 years old, Thorpe holds the world record in the 200 and 400 free and also will swim the 400 free relay and the 800 free relay for the host Australians.

    But if Thorpe is the favorite in the 400 free, Moses hopes to balance out Thorpe's gold medal by taking one in the 100 breast.

    "There's going to be a big surprise," Moses said at a press conference last weekend. "Australia [will win] the 400-meter freestyle with Ian Thorpe, and I can nullify that swim."

    Assuming he makes it past the opening races, Moses will swim the 100 breast final Sunday night in Sydney, the second day of competition. Without a major upset, he will likely be given the responsibility of winning the U.S. men's first 2000 gold.

    Moses has said he wants to start the fire of the team by going under a minute in his event. Russian Roman Sludnov holds the world record of 1 minute, 0.36 seconds, a mere .08 seconds faster than Moses' time at the trials. The U.S. also has hopes of a bronze in the 100 breast, with 19-year-old Pat Calhoun a strong possibility for third behind Moses and Sludnov.

    Virginia swimming and diving coach Mark Bernardino said he speaks frequently with Moses and will be kept abreast of his swimmer's performance.

    "Ed has a calling card," Bernardino said. "Everything will be tape-delayed, so hopefully I'll be either called or e-mailed as soon as it happens, and it won't be so stressful sitting in front of the television."

    Sports Illustrated picked Moses to win the 100, but don't hand him the medal just yet.

    "Nothing is a sure bet," Bosevska said. "I don't want to be negative, but it's hard. I don't think [Moses] wants that pressure put on him."

    Moses also looks to be part of a world record as a member of the U.S. 400 medley relay team, which also counts Australians as the chief competition. Both teams are projected to lower the world mark by two seconds, though the American may have the edge because of stronger butterfly and backstroke legs. That event takes place Saturday the 23rd, the last day of swimming competition.

    Gold is the Moses' goal, and Pietucha has a solid chance to make the finals in the butterfly events, but Bosevska and Yimsomruay are focusing on simply swimming as well as they can.

    Pietucha, who holds both Virginia butterfly records, races in the 200 fly Monday and 100 fly a week from today.

    Bosevska starts competition with the 400 IM Saturday and then begins the 400 free Sunday and the 800 free a week from today. Yimsomruay swims his 200 IM heat Wednesday.

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