Silver misses Olympic cut
June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:35 PM
"Sometimes, learning from a competition is more important than winning.Helen Silver, a junior-to-be at Bainbridge High School, called her experience at the Olympic swimming trials in Indianapolis the most exciting and educational swim meet she had ever attended.It was so intense, so much pressure, but even though it sounds corny, it was kind of inspirational, she said.The trials, held from Aug. 6 -19, offered the ultimate prize - a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. That brought together the fastest swimmers in the country.This is an international caliber event, and the across-the-board competition is so good, the atmosphere around the pool is just electric, said Bob Silver, Helen's father, who swam in the 1968 Olympic trials and watched his daughter swim this year.There are 100 to 120 competitors, and only two in each event make the team, he said. I felt so important, so honored, said Helen. There wasn't one particular 'most exciting' moment. The whole thing was exciting. Just being there, you were surrounded by famous swimmers. As she was walking into the trials one day, a group of young children even asked for her autograph.Silver swam the 100 and 200 meter backstroke. She finished 108th in the 100 and swam a 1:22:41 in the 200. My 100 wasn't very good, but it's the fastest 200 I've ever swum, Silver said.Helen's father, uncle, and aunts - all competitive swimmers - attended the event.Though Silver did not qualify for the Olympic team, she didn't expect to.Going into it, I had no expectations. I just went to have a good time, she said. This was a good learning experience. I can just put this in the memory bank for the future.Bob Silver also saw the experience as educational.She came away with an understanding of what it takes to compete at that level. And I think she saw that she is fully capable of competing at that caliber.Helen agreed. Swimming well at that level is just a matter of work, she said. This is an experience that I'll never forget.Megaworkout in ultramarathonHiking 100 miles up and down the Cascades is a pretty serious stuff. Running for 32 hours? How about insanity? A lot of people think I'm crazy, including my family, said Susan Weisser, a local woman who runs ultramarathons. But the first time I ran an ultramarathon was in Cle Elum, and I was hooked.Technically any race over 26.2 miles, ultramarathons are typically 50K, 100K, and even the occasional 100-miler, often through mountain trails.It's tempting to see if you can do it, Weisser said.To her, trail running is always an adventure. Something happens that earmarks each race. You learn something about yourself physically, you work some stuff out, or you see big bear and cougar tracks all over the place and wonder if you should turn back.Weisser will begin her first 100-miler this Saturday at 10 a.m. and has 32 hours to finish. The course runs through the Snoqualmie Pass area, and 30 miles are on the Pacific Crest Trail. She'll be one of 41 racers, only four of whom are women.Only 10-15 per cent of trail runners are women, she said, but we do pretty well at endurance running because we have more fat, which is what you need.Weisser plans to run through the night. I'll be able to bust some chops, she said. Tell people, 'Yeah, I did 10,000 feet of vert this weekend.'While most consider running all night through the mountains beyond them, Weisser insists it's just a matter of training. The average 5K-er would say 'No way,' because they think that's all they can run. It's not true, she said.Weisser and her husband used to own Europa West, a takeout restaurant on Winslow Way that closed last February. Now, she says, she's hanging out at home with the kids. She plans to go to graduate school to add a master's degree in public health to her BA in nursing.You know, she said, I'm way more anxious about taking the GREs than I am about running 100 miles through remote mountains.Spartan poloists are All-AmericansFive members of last fall's Bainbridge High School boys water polo team have been awarded All-American status in Water Polo Scoreboard magazine.Seniors Cooper Rooks and Kurt Schuler were named to the third team, senior Daniel Davies was named to the fourth team, and senior Gareth Owens and junior Jeffrey Christensen were named to the fifth team.The teams were selected by the National Interscholastic Swim Coach's Association.The Bainbridge boys were the only Washington boys on the magazine's list. "