Ann Arbor’s Joyce helps U.S. women claim silver
Source: THE DETROIT NEWS by John Niyo
BEIJING — Kara Lynn Joyce was a late addition to the U.S. Olympic swimming team. But now that she’s here, the former Ann Arbor Pioneer star intends to make good on a second chance.
She certainly did that Sunday, helping the U.S. 400-meter freestyle relay team to a silver medal at the National Aquatic Center.
Joyce, who made the U.S. roster only after Dara Torres decided to drop one of her events, swam the third relay leg for the U.S. women Sunday, moving the U.S. team from third to second in the race.
Torres then cruised home on the anchor leg as the U.S. finished second — in an American-record time of 3:43.33 — behind the Netherlands. The Dutch won with an Olympic-record time of 3:33.76.
“I just wanted to come in here and do something to help the team,” said Joyce, who won a pair of Olympic relay silver medals in Athens four years ago.
Following a disappointing performance at the Olympic trials last month, Joyce had headed home for Athens, Ga., where she lives after capping a record-setting collegiate career at Georgia in 2006. But when Torres dropped out of the women’s 100 freestyle to concentrate on other events, Joyce got a phone call during a layover stop in Chicago. It was Jack Bauerle, her college coach who’s also the U.S. women’s head coach, telling her she’d made the team, after all.
Joyce quickly boarded another flight headed west and joined the U.S. team at its training camp in Palo Alto, Calif. Then, just before the U.S. team departed for Asia, Joyce got the news that teammate Jessica Hardy had failed a drug test at the trials. With the deadline having passed to make another roster addition, Joyce was picked to replace Hardy in the 50 free, an event in which Joyce finished fifth in Athens.
Joyce, whose parents and eldest brother made the trip to Beijing, begins competition in that event on Friday night. Meanwhile, when asked to describe the rollercoaster of emotions prior to Sunday’s race, Joyce laughed, “It’s definitely a different feeling.”
“But you know what?” she said. “I’ve had a great year, and I can’t let one bad meet get me down. I know where I’m at now, I know where I’m supposed to be, and I just need to look forward.”