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The 40-year-old swimmer

Huntington Beach resident Steve West is the oldest male to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

June 20, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Steve West, of Huntington Beach, will be in Omaha this weekend for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trails in men’s swimming.
Steve West, of Huntington Beach, will be in Omaha this… (Mike Lewis )

It's sure to be a swim down memory lane for Steve West.

The Huntington Beach resident is headed for Omaha this weekend for the 2012U.S. Olympic TeamTrials in men's swimming. West is no stranger to competing for a spot on an U.S. Olympic team; he'll be making his fourth appearance at the Men's Team Swimming Trials.

What makes this latest feat special is the fact he's headed to Omaha as a 40-year-old.

West, who swims with the Irvine Novaquatics National Team, has qualified for the Trials in two events, the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. Married and a father of two, West said he had learned through Swimming World magazine that he had became the oldest male swimmer to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Last June, at 39, he qualified in the men's 200 breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 20.65 seconds at the TYR Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions. The U.S. Olympic Trials time standard is 2:20.79.

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On April 22, West, who turned 40 earlier that month, also qualified in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.68 at the same Meet of Champions.

West swims the 100 breaststroke at the Trials on Monday and the 200 breast on June 28 ().

"I think it's quite an honor to be able to compete in the Olympic Trials, it's a special honor to be the oldest man ever to compete, and as one of only four people over 40 competing at the Trials," West said. "I've been three times before. This time, I have no expectations of myself, so I'm going to have fun and enjoy the experience."

West, former Olympians Dara Torres (45) and Janet Evans (40), and Erika Braun (40), are the four 40-and-above athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in men's and women's swimming. West said that Wally Dicks previously held the men's age record when, at age 37, he qualified for the 100 breaststroke in 2000.

"It's kind of funny that when I qualified, I wasn't sure that I wanted to go to the Trials," West said. "It's a big commitment. Since I first qualified last June, I'm now a year older and wondered if I could swim faster than I did last summer. I'm a little nervous about it and the chances of making the (Olympic) team are really slim, but I'm going into this with the right attitude. It's all about having fun. At this point, I'm ready to go swim."

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