MINNIAPOLIS, Minn. – Rising junior Michele King earned a spot on the U.S. team for the 2009 World University Games by tying for first-place in the 50m free at the U.S. Open on Saturday night at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
King and Madison Kennedy both posted a time of 25.22 to share the U.S. Open sprint title and earn automatic berths to the World University Games next summer in Belgrade, Serbia.
“There wasn’t much to it,” King said. “I wanted to win and I just raced. I’m really happy. I’m happy to tie with (Kennedy) because she is a great swimmer and she is someone who cares so much about the sport.”
King’s time is a career-best, bettering the mark of 25.43 she obtained at the 2008 Olympic Trials in June. The winning performance also ranks King and Kennedy, who competes for California, tied for 25th in the world in the 50m free.
King had the top qualifying time in the finals after swimming a 25.52 in her preliminary heat on Saturday morning.
The York, Pa., native also placed sixth in the finals of the 100m free with a time of 56.16 on Wednesday. The 10-time All-America selection swam a career-best 56.03 in her prelim heat.
“This is a very nice finish to my season,” King said. “I swam my best times in both events. To be able to do that after swimming at the Olympic Trials is great.”
King finished 45th in the 50m free at the Olympic Trials.
During this past season with the Lady Vols, King was runner-up at the NCAA Championships in the 50y free and won a Southeastern Conference title as a member of the 200y free relay.
The 2009 World University Games will be held from July 2-7, 2009, in Belgrade, Serbia. The highest placing athlete in each U.S. Open event who will be enrolled as a full-time university student through Jan. 1, 2009 will to be invited to the World University Games Team.