Basil Kaaki Qualifies for Beijing Olympics at FINA World Championships
April 16, 2008
University Park, Pa. - Basil Kaaki, a current sophomore on the men's swimming team, qualified for this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China this past weekend with his performance at the ninth FINA World Swimming Championships (25 meters) that were held in Manchester, Great Britain. Kaaki represented Lebanon in the meet as he has in several international competitions in the past and met the qualifying standards for Lebanon for the Olympics.
With his qualification, this will mark the second straight Olympiad that a former or current Penn State swimmer will compete in. Former men's swimmer Eugene Botes qualified and competed for his native South Africa at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
"Basil continues our Penn State Swimming and Diving tradition of excellence by representing himself, his home country and Penn State in international competition," said Penn State swimming coach Bill Dorenkott. "We are unbelieveably proud of Basil as he prepares for this summer's Olympiad in Beijing."
The FINA World (25-meter) Championships was the last major international competition before the Beijing Olympics. It was swam in short-course meters (25-meters) as opposed to the long-course meter (50-meter) pool that most international competitions, including the Olympics, are swam in. At the FINA World Championships, Kaaki swam in five events: the 50 and 100 butterfly, the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 IM. His best finish was a tie for 26th in the 100 IM in a time of :56.91. He also finished in a tie for 34th in the 50m fly in :24.98, alone in 34th in the 100m fly in :54.93, 36th in the 50m free in :22.93, 41st in the 100 free in :50.77.
Two other current Penn State swimmers have also qualified for their respective country's Olympic Trials in South Africans Amy Hooper and Sean Swanepoel. A total of 18 other Penn State swimmers have also qualified for U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held later in the summer in Omaha, Neb.
More information can be found at fina.org.