Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Success in Pool Reflects on Katz | after Finishing Fifth in the 200 Backstroke Final, 17-Year-Old Resets His Expectations

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Success in Pool Reflects on Katz | after Finishing Fifth in the 200 Backstroke Final, 17-Year-Old Resets His Expectations

Article excerpt

SWIMMING OLYMPIC TRIALS

SARASOTA -- Austin Katz's reaction was the same as it is after every race. He removed his cap and goggles and looked at the scoreboard.

What Katz saw this time nearly jettisoned him from the pool at the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

"I couldn't really believe it," said the Riverview High Ram. "I didn't know what to expect. When I saw the time and place, I was in a little bit of disbelief.

"I knew where my sister was sitting, so I kind of looked that way and had a shocked look on my face."

Earlier at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, Taylor Katz, a swimmer for the Florida Gators, had finished 52nd in the 400 freestyle.

Taylor's younger brother upped the ante on family bragging rights. One of just two participating 17-year-olds, Austin saved his best performance for his sixth and final race, finishing fifth in the 200 backstroke in 1 minute, 57.20 seconds.

Katz had placed 15th in the 100

backstroke and 51st in the 200 freestyle, before rallying from last place in the 200 final to take fifth. After the race he looked for his sister, but as for mom and dad, they were out of view.

"When I got out of the pool, I could tell they were really happy for me," Katz said. "You can't really describe the moment."

Afterward the family went out to dinner at an Omaha steak restaurant. And while the steak wasn't as tasty as his performance, the cut passed Austin's standards.

"It was fantastic," he said.

An apt description of Katz's week. A day before the 200 backstroke final, he finished eighth in prelims, which qualified him for the semifinals later in the day. A sixth there, out of 114 swimmers, lifted him into the final.

That he couldn't complete the fairytale with a top-two finish and a berth on the U.S. Olympic team didn't matter. Katz not only met his goal of a top-eight finish, he surpassed it.

"There really wasn't a place in mind," he said. "The goal was to get into the final. I think I swam the race how I trained to race it. …

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