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Former Gaucho Ian Lentz

Photo Courtesy of calbears.com
Former Casa Grande star is seeded 95th for today's preliminaries


As a two-time member of the Pac-10 all-academic team, Cal’s Ian Lentz is smart enough to know he probably won’t make any headlines at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.

But as an athlete with a huge drive, he’s competitive enough to believe he just might surprise some people.

Lentz, 21, a three-time All-American at Casa Grande High, is seeded 95th in today’s preliminaries of the 100-meter butterfly at the trials in Omaha, Neb.

At the top of the list of 100-fly qualifiers are world-record holder Ian Crocker and six-time gold medalist Michael Phelps. More than 90 spots — and about five seconds — away is Lentz, whose qualifying time of 55.48 is just inside the trials cut of 55.59.

Lentz, however, is drawing inspiration from a relevant source. His Cal teammate, Nick Ferrif, qualified 51st in the 100 breastroke and placed 12th in the prelims last Sunday to reach the 16-person semifinals.

“Anything can happen sometimes,” Lentz said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing what I can do.”

Lentz, a psychology major with a 3.35 GPA, earned a reputation for doing just about everything at Casa Grande. As a junior, he became the first swimmer to qualify for the North Coast Section Championships in all eight individual events. In his prep career, he won four NCS titles, set Empire records in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and ranked among the top four all-time in four other events.

Now entering his senior year at Cal, he still has some goals he’d like to achieve, most notably qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the first time.

But that’s next year. Today he will compete on the biggest stage of his career.

And he hopes to deliver a surprise.