U.S. PARALYMPICS: U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials Sole Shot for Athletes to Qualify for 2008 Paralympic Games

March 28, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 28, 2008 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-There is only one way for U.S. athletes to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team that will compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China: Trials. The competition is being held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, April 3-5, 2008. Based on performances posted at the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials, U.S. Paralympics is expected to nominate 38 athletes (20 male and 18 female) to the team. The competition will feature some veteran athletes, including seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Erin Popovich (Fort Collins, Colo.), 200 IM world recorder holder Rudy Garcia-Tolson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Bloomington, Calif.), Minnesota native and Paralympic gold medalist Justin Zook (Plymouth, Minn.), 2007 ESPY Award winner Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.), among others. Looking to make his Paralympic Trials debut is Dave Denniston (Longmont, Colo.), a 2004 Olympic hopeful who sustained a spinal cord injury in a sledding accident in 2005. Denniston took to the pool during rehabilitation and has since began training with the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Resident Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Minnesota native Melissa Stockwell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), an Iraq war veteran who lost her leg to a roadside bomb in Baghdad, will also be competing in the Trials. Stockwell says she hopes to represent her country a second time, only this time it will be in a pool in Beijing. WHAT: U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials WHEN: April 3-5, 2008 Competition begins at 9 a.m. daily, with finals starting at 5 p.m. For a complete schedule, please go to WHERE: University of Minnesota Aquatic Center 1910 University Avenue SE Minneapolis, MN 55455 The public is welcome to attend the competition. There is no admission fee. To request a media credential for the competition, please email Julie O'Neill, U.S. Paralympics, at Julie.o'neill@usoc.org. For all other inquiries or for more information about the competition, please contact Beth Bourgeois, U.S. Paralympics, at (719)866-2039 or beth.bourgeois@usoc.org.