Stephanie Rice may have made headlines recently for photos showing off her gold medal quality body in a bikini, but comparing her recent times in the 200 meter individual medley with those her rivals posted on Thursday show that she’s much more than eye candy.
The Australian reports that Rice is likely to carry her No. 1 in the world ranking in the 200m individual medley into the London Olympics because her American rivals were unable to match her times. Caitlin Leverenz was fasted among the Americans in the event with a time of 2:10.22 at the U.S. Trials in Omaha, Neb. but even her time was almost a full second outside Rice’s winning time from the Australian trials of 2:09.38.
Rice is likely to face her stiffest competition in the 200 medley from Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, who posted a time of 2:09.43.
Leverenz, who Rice will face in both the 200 and 400 medley’s in London, was dominating Thursday on the final two legs — breaststroke and freestyle — and pulled away to win in 2:10.22.
“Typically people close on me in the freestyle, so I just put my head down and went for it,” Leverenz told the San Jose Mercury-News.
Stephanie Rice and Leverenz may not get the attention given Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, but their meetings could be just as interesting in London. ESPN reported that Leverenz actually defeated Rice at the Santa Clara Grand Prix in early June.
Rice’s coach, Michael Bohl, said the swimmer has only continued to improve.
“She looks pretty good,” Bohl told The Australian. “We are still working with the shoulder. It’s up and down, but we know she’s in a better state of mind and in a better position than she was at trials. She has more work under her belt. I know she will go under her trials times (at the Olympics).”
It is probably a safe bet that Stephanie Rice’s headlines from here on out will have more to do with success in the pool, than how she looks outside of it.
(Photo courtesy of Reuters/Eurosport)