By Olivia Seecof
Matthew Segar ’12 of the men’s swimming and diving team recently qualified to compete in the Olympic Trials in the 200 freestyle event. Segar is one of three University students to qualify for the 2012 trials, but the only one to qualify while enrolled as a student at the University (Erik Heinemann ’15 and Emily Norton ’15 qualified before they were enrolled). These are the first University students to qualify for this meet since Jim Harvey ’88
“The Olympic Trials, like the Olympics, is only every four years and it is definitely an honor and an accomplishment to be part of it,” head coach Dan Schinnerer said.
Segar earned his qualifying time for the trials in December at the AT&T Winter Nationals held at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga.
“It was an incredible experience swimming in the same pool that hosted the 1996 Olympic Games. There, I not only got to see some of the greatest swimmers in the country, but also competed against Olympians from France, Canada, Mexico and Great Britain,” Segar said.
Despite the prestigious venue, the meet began in a less than ideal manner for Segar.
“I started off the meet adding time in the 400 freestyle so I was nervous about how the meet was going to pan out. Thankfully, the next day I managed to put together the best 200 freestyle of my life. It was a surreal experience and I was extremely appreciative to have my coaches, parents and high school swim coach there to help revel in the moment,” he said.
Heinemann is excited to swim with Segar this summer.
“Since I have seen Matt swim since the beginning of the year, I have noticed one thing in particular about him that makes him a truly talented swimmer, and that is his competitiveness. Matt is always determined to get his hand on the wall first, and seems to be able to find an extra gear at the end of races that most other swimmers do not have,” Heinemann said.
This summer’s Olympic Trials will be held in Omaha, Neb. at the Qwest Center. The center will build two pools within a week just for this event. The trials were held at this venue in 2008 and hosted the largest crowd ever to attend a swim meet.
While Segar has a lot to be proud of, he remains focused on having a successful season for the Bison.
“I was obviously very happy with the outcome, but knew that there was still a very long season ahead and I couldn’t let that get to me. If anything, it’s helped motivate me more to have a good end to the season,” Segar said.
Schinnerer also acknowledged the dedication and amount of hard work that Segar put into this season.
“Matt has done a great job of making significant improvements over the last year and really over his four years at Bucknell. He is very in tune with what he needs to do to get better. He is very cerebral in his approach to his sport,” Schinnerer said.
Segar is generally known on the team as having a great character and always keeping both personal and team goals in mind.
“Matt is an extremely talented swimmer who seems to thrive in pressure situations and always comes up big when it matters not just to himself, but the team as well,” Heinemann said.
“I’m really looking forward to the next couple of meets as well as joining as many teammates as possible in Omaha,” Segar said.