Atlanta pool gets 2 from U

by Tris Wykes

The Olympic dream lives on for a pair of swimmers associated with the University, but has ended for another.
Minnesota women’s swimmer Olga Splichalova, a sophomore, will be making her second consecutive Olympic appearance after qualifying in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle events as a member of the Czech Republic team.
On the men’s side, Gophers men’s swimming coach Dennis Dale said sophomore Manolis Lentaris will not swim for Greece in the Olympics because he is recovering from a severe foot injury suffered in February.
However, one of Dale’s recruits, incoming Brazilian Alexandre Massura, will compete for his country as a member of its 400 freestyle relay team.
Splichalova competed for the Czech Republic at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and placed sixth in the 800 freestyle event.
The 20-year-old was an All-Big Ten selection last season after winning the 1,650- and 500-yard events at the conference championships.
Splichalova also earned All-America status by placing fifth in the 1,650-meter freestyle at the NCAA Championships in late March. At the same meet, she earned honorable mention All-America honors by placing 11th in the 500 freestyle and was a member of the Gophers’ honorable mention All-America 400 medley relay team.
Splichalova did not attend classes at the University during spring quarter in order to train for this year’s Olympics.
The native of Znojmo in the Czech Republic first spent a month training in Germany. She qualified for the Olympics at a meet in Barcelona earlier this month, with a time of 4:15.8 in the 400-yard freestyle, and in the 800 with a time of 8:39. The Olympic qualifying standard in the 400 is 4:17, and the 800 is 8:43.9.
Lentaris, an All-American two seasons ago as a freshman, is hoping to regain top competitive form next season after severing three tendons in his left foot at the 1996 Big Ten Championships in mid-February.
Just prior to the injury, Lentaris earned All-Big Ten honors after winning the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events, placing second in the 1,000 free and third in the 1,650 free.
Lentaris, Greece’s Swimmer of the Year in 1994 and 1995, was injured when he slipped on the pool deck. He had surgery to repair the tendons on Feb. 27.
Massura, a native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has signed a national letter of intent to attend the University next season and will be making his Olympic debut in Atlanta.
Minnesota men’s swimming assistant coach Clark Campbell, who recruited Massura, said the 20-year-old is the No. 2 backstroker in Brazil. Massura has been a member of the Brazilian national team for the past five years and won a gold medal at the 1995 Pan American Games as a member of his country’s 400-meter medley relay team.