Tucson’s Caitlin Leverenz falls to Ye Shiwen, claims bronze medalby Christopher C. Wuensch on Jul. 31, 2012, under Sports
For a fleeting moment, it appeared that Caitlin Leverenz was destined to upset rising star and new Olympic sensation Ye Shiwen.
The 16-year-old Chinese star — who days before shattered the 400-meter individual medley world record so badly, that many began crying for her to be drug tested — eventual rallied late to overcome Leverenz (who took the lead at the third of four legs mark) by more than a second (that’s ages in pool years).
At age 21, however, the Tucson native figures to get plenty of shots at the teenage phenom from China.
Leverenz stepped to the winner’s podium for the first time in her very brief Olympic career on Tuesday, vanquishing all but two opponents in the 200-meter individual medley to claim a bronze medal.
Ye finished with a time of 2.07.57, good enough for a Olympic record.
Leverenz’ (2:08.95) time was a marked improvement over her performance in the 400-meter IM, where she finished tied for sixth with a time of 4:35.49.
The emerging star grew up in Tucson, attending Sahuaro High School and swimming for El Dorado Aquatics Club. Instead of attending the University of Arizona, like 10 other 2012 Olympians, Leverenz packed her bags and headed to the University of California, where she’ll be a senior in the fall.
The London games are the first of her career after third- and fourth-place finishes at the 2008 Olympic Trials left her in the shallow end of the pool, while faster swimmers floated off to Beijing.
Those fleeting moments appeared to be over now. Leverenz now has four years to work on catching Ye and to build a bigger trophy case.