OMAHA, Neb. - Thursday night will be a huge night for Kansas City area Olympic hopefuls at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., especially after Mission Hills native Bobby Bollier upset Michael Phelps.
Bollier and Shannon Vreeland from Overland Park, Kan., advanced to the finals of their events and will appear Thursday on your 41 Action News station between 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
The 22-year-old Bollier, who just graduated from Stanford with a degree in a mechanical engineering, took first place in the semifinals Wednesday night in the 200-meter butterfly. He finished with a time of 1:56:06. Bollier came from behind to beat fellow Kansas City Blazer Davis Tarwater, who hails from Knoxville, Tenn.
Bollier beat Phelps, who took third in the 200-meter butterfly semifinals. The victory is more impressive for Bollier, considering Phelps is the current world record holder in the 200-meter butterfly. Phelps also won a gold medal in that event the last two years and made his first Olympic team in 2000 by qualifying in the 200-meter butterfly at age 15.
Bollier still needs to finish in the top two in the 200-meter butterfly Thursday night to qualify for the Summer Olympics in London.
"Bobby has told me he's focused his training on the butterfly," Kansas City Blazers head coach Gardner Howland said. "He's done his best time in regular season meets leading up to this. I'm watching him right now stretching. He's the consummate athlete. He's a good sportsman and takes care of himself. He's something else. Guys like him don't come along very often."
The 20-year-old Vreeland finished first in her heat and second overall in Wednesday night's semifinals of the 200-meter freestyle. Vreeland needs to make the top six Thursday night in the finals to qualify for the Summer Olympic games in London.
Vreeland just finished her sophomore year at the University of Georgia. If she advances out of the finals in the 200-meter freestyle, she would swim the 4x200 meter relay team in London for Team USA.
"Shannon is a delightful young lady," Howland said. "I ran into her and she asked permission to train when she comes home. I said ‘you're a Blazer for life.' She's a good natured athlete and has made enormous strides since going to the University of Georgia the last two years. They've been a powerhouse, and it's been really good for her. She's grown in her abilities and her confidence. It's been fun to watch."
Stay with KSHB.com and your 41 Action News station for complete coverage of our Kansas City area Olympic hopefuls.