March 14, 2012
Junior Ed Walsh and freshman Tristan Slater competed last week at the British Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre.
The meet -- more or less the halfway point between the SEC and NCAA Championships -- gave the Vols an opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team. While neither swimmer made the cut, Slater put on a display of career bests back in his home country.
Slater reached the semifinals of the 200-meter breaststroke, swimming in a time of 2 minutes, 18.18 seconds in the preliminaries and finished 16th in the semifinals.
Slater, who has his eyes set on the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, took 14th place in the 400 individual medley in 4:24.36.
Walsh swam both the freestyle sprints, taking 25th in the 50 freestyle (23.32) and 41st in the 100 freestyle (51.42).
While Slater did not qualify for the NCAA Championships this season, he is undoubtedly one of the bright spots for Tennessee's future. He clocked the Vols' fastest times this year in the 200-yard individual medley (1:46.84) and the 400 individual medley (3:48.51). He was one of three Vols on the SEC All-Freshman team, joining diver Mauricio Robles and backstroker Ben Scheffer.
Walsh's season did not end with the British Championships. The junior team captain is the anchor leg on the 200-yard medley relay team that qualified for NCAAs. He has been an All-American in the event the last two years with senior teammate Ricky Henahan.
British Gas Swimming Championships
23.32 (25th place)
51.42 (41st place)
4:24.36 (14th place)