July 31, 2012
LONDON, England - UC Davis alumnus and current volunteer coach Scott Weltz finished third in his heat of the men's 200-meter breaststroke on Tuesday evening with a time of 2 minutes, 8.99 seconds, advancing to Wednesday's final for a chance to claim Olympic gold.
Hungary's Daniel Gyurta, who swam with Weltz in the morning preliminaries, and Great Britain's Andrew Willis claimed the top two times in the heat at 2:08.32 and 2:08.47, respectively. Michael Jamieson, also of Great Britain, posted the top time of all swimmers at 2:08.20. Gyurta and Willis follow him with the second and third best times, while Weltz finished fourth among all swimmers.
Weltz, who qualified for the semifinals after a strong showing in the preliminaries earlier Tuesday, did well to stay with the pack which included reigning world champion Gyurta and Japan's Kosuke Kitajima, a two-time gold medalist in the event and current world record holder.
In the sixth lane of the semifinal heat, Weltz posted a 50-meter split of 29.70 and a 100-meter split of 33.06 to sit in sixth place midway through the race. As he made the final turn into the last 50 meters, he still found himself in sixth place.
However, in a finish that echoed that of the Olympic Trials as well as the morning preliminaries, he used a strong finish to propel himself into third place. He covered the final 50 in a time of 33.39 to touch the wall as the third-place finisher. The final split time was second fastest among the 16 competitors.
During his standout career with the Aggies, Weltz was twice honored as the Big West Conference Swimmer of the Year and was co-winner of the Colby E. "Babe" Slater Award as UC Davis' outstanding male athlete of the year in 2010.
With a 2:09.01 in the U.S. Olympic Trials, Weltz upset Brenan Hansen and Eric Shanteau in Omaha last June to qualify for London. He entered the Olympic Games with the sixth-fastest qualifying mark.
Wednesday's race will begin at 11:30 a.m. (Pacific).