Swim trials open; football notes

The US Olympic Swimming Trials are being held here this week in a beautiful natatorium before enthusiastic crowds, but the awards ceremonies seem incomplete. What they lack is a third swimmer.

In previous years, a trio of newly-minted Olympians would always mount the victory podium. But not this time, thanks to a new rule limiting a country to two swimmers per event.

The reason behind the change, says US Olympic coach Don Gambril, is to conform with swimming's world championships, which use the two-per-country format. Though supposedly not an anti-American rule, it hits hardest at the talent-rich US camp.

''I wish they still took the top three,'' says Tracy Caulkins, who won the 400-meter individual medley but failed to land an Olympic berth in the 200-meter breaststroke when she finished fourth. ''Everyone trains so hard in an Olympic year, you just never know who's going to swim out of their heads. The pressure is unbelievable, especially in the shorter events.''

The pressure of what Ray Essick, the US Swimming executive director, calls ''the toughest meet in the world,'' perhaps led to two world records in as many days. John Moffet edged previous record-holder Steve Lundquist in the 100-meter breaststroke, and Pablo Morales took away Matt Gribble's mark the same way in the 100-meter butterfly.

Hoosier Dome

The Hoosier Dome will open its doors here soon, with pro football's transplanted Colts the prime tenants. An Indianapolis Orioles T-shirt displayed in a downtown window might lead one to believe Baltimore's baseball team is on the way too, but the shirt is only a gag.

What may not be a laughing matter is the impact the Colts' arrival could have on football attendance at nearby state universities, Purdue and Indiana. Neither has produced top teams in recent years, and both conceivably could lose fans to the suddenly-arrived NFL franchise, which conducted a lottery to handle a deluge of seaon ticket requests.

What may not be a laughing matter is the impact the Colts' arrival could have on football attendance at nearby state universities, Purdue and Indiana. Neither has produced top teams in recent years, and both conceivably could lose fans to the suddenly-arrived NFL franchise, which conducted a lottery to handle a deluge of seaon ticket requests.

But pre-season ticket sales at the state schools haven't suffered, according to the Indianapolis News. Purdue is helped by a dynamite home schedule including defending national champion Miami plus Ohio State, Michigan, and Iowa, while IU also has some attractive home dates.

Olympic track team has gridiron flavor

A fair number of football players made the US Olympic track team. All but one, Southern Methodist lineman Michael Carter, are speedsters - Tennessee's Sam Graddy, Georgia Tech's Antonio McKay, Iowa State's Danny Harris, and Arizona State's Ron Brown.

Carter throws the shot, and will turn to a pro football career once the Games end. So will Brown, a wide receiver who spurned a lucrative contract from the Cleveland Browns last season to pursue his Olympic dream. His rights have since been traded to the L.A. Rams.

Some people wonder what kind of NFL player Brown will be after the layoff. Of course, hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah, who didn't even play college ball, has made it with the San Francisco 49ers. And as O. J. Simpson points out, Brown's mere presence on the field is the important thing. ''All he has to do is catch one pass a game, like (the Raiders') Cliff Branch in the Super Bowl, and he opens up the game for a runner like Eric Dickerson,'' O.J. says.

Brown, the last man to beat sprint king Carl Lewis outdoors, finished third behind Lewis and Graddy in the Olympic trials 100 meters. The Dallas Cowboys, incidentally, made Lewis the team's last round draft pick even though he has never played organized football. Asked if he would seriously consider a contract offer, Lewis says, ''Well, I've got nothing to lose by talking to them. There's no telling what might happen.''

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