3-Minute Interview: Ben Wildman-Tobriner

The former swimmer at Lick-Wilmerding High School and Stanford is now hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team for the upcoming Summer Games in Beijing at the Olympic trials in July. Today, USA Swimming’s Breakout Performer of the Year in 2007 (who trained as a kid with the Hammerheads at the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club) will be swimming at the Hilton Hotel as part of the 6,250-lap Hilton Swim to Beijing Relay, a multicity event to benefit youth swim programs.

How has the pool at the Boys and Girls Club changed since you were training there? It’s come a long, long way. Back then, there were no backstroke flags, no starting blocks and only two working lane lines. Over the years, it’s really improved, but there’s been a battle for each thing. That’s why I’m so excited to help outwhenever I can.

Did the conditions at the pool ever affect your training? Certainly having to do flip turns in the shallow end in only 1½ or 2 feet of water was a challenge. But really at that age, the key to successful training is listening to your coach and having fun. All you really need is a body of water.

The new Speedo LZR Racer suit has been the talk of the swimming world lately, helping to set 16 world records in less than two months. Will you use it? I haven’t yet, but I definitely will. It’s a good time to be a Speedo swimmer. You always want the newest and fastest technology.

Which event are you concentrating on for your Olympic bid? I’ve probably had the most success in the 50-meter freestyle, but mathematically six people make the team in the 100 in contrast with two for the 50. So it would be foolish to just focus on the 50. Hopefully I can do well in both.

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