TCU athletes prepared for Olympic challenge

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    The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games arrived and London bled purple.

    The world’s best athletes have come together and among those are TCU’s Edgar Crespo and Sarah Scherer.

    ‘A dream come true’               

    Four years ago, Edgar Crespo competed at the Olympics in Beijing for the first time. Since then, Crespo trained in preparation for the moment that many athletes only dream of- competing for their country in front of the world.

    “I mean anything can happen, so I will do my best as I always do and swim as fast as I can, so I can reach the goal I have right now,” Crespo said before the competition.

    Crespo competed at the London Games in the 100-meter breaststroke representing his home country, Panama. Crespo placed fourth in his heat at the Olympics. At TCU, Crespo holds the record in both 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

    “TCU has been my second house, my second family, so it’s almost the same feeling that I have representing Panama,” Crespo said before the competition.

    The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were a great experience but now the proud Panamanian and Horned Frog  felt ready for the London Games, he said.

    “When you’re a kid, you want to be like big stars,” he said. “ I still want to be like the really good stars Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, so I have to work harder.”
     
    Bill Koppelman, assistant coach for TCU Swimming and Diving, joined Crespo at the Olympics as Panama’s assistant coach swimming and diving coach.

    “It’s an amazing honor,” Koppelman said before the competition. “It’s something that Edgar has earned and I’m just helping him along the way.”

    Koppelman joined the TCU swimming and diving team as an assistant coach in the fall of 2006. He has trained with Crespo for four and a half years and is coaching at the Olympics for the first time.

    “Everything about the Olympics is such a great opportunity, “ he said. “It only comes around every four years and it’s the biggest event in swimming.”

    Koppelman said Crespo is a dedicated and humble person that makes coaching easy for him because he is a hardworking athlete.

    For Koppelman, coaching comes first and after Crespo’s event, he looks forward to observing and learning the most that he can, watching swim meets and supporting the other Panamanian athletes.

    Koppelman also had the opportunity to work with another Olympian, Alejandro Gomez during his first year coaching at TCU.

    Gomez, who is a TCU graduate, competed in the long distance swimming competition for Venezuela at the London Games. He trained in Florida with another TCU alum, Gregg Troy, who is the head coach for the men’s swimming and diving team.

    “When we’re sending multiple people to the Olympics, including our alumni, that’s definitely something we can hope to build upon and hopefully get some more in 2016,” Koppelman said.

    ‘Going for the gold’

    Sarah Scherer competed with the USA shooting team in the women’s 10 -meter air rifle event and placed seventh out of eight Olympians.

    Scherer is a NCAA Champion with many rifle honors as a part of TCU’s rifle team. Scherer shot a perfect 600 against the University of Alaska-Fairbanks last fall, an accomplishment she said she did not expect at this point in her career. During the Olympic trials, she placed second in the women’s air rifle event.

    “What you really want to take away from this level of competition is that you gave it your best and you did all that you could to maximize your performance,” she said before the competition.

    Perfection in shooting requires strategy and preparation, she said. At the Olympics, athletes are performing at their top level and Scherer said her goal was to do the best she could.

    “I’m just really excited,” she said of competing in her first Olympics.

    Scherer is not the only one in her family that reached the Olympics. In 2008, her brother, Stephen Scherer competed in the air rifle event at the Beijing Games.

    Since his death, his skill and strive for perfection has been a motivation for her to do better, she said.

    Scherer said she felt privileged to represent TCU and Team USA and plans to continue shooting and hopes to reach the 2016 Olympic Games.

    “I’m not sure where life’s going to take me but it’s definitely on the radar,” she said.

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