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Auburn's Kukors earns ticket to London Olympics
Olympic dreams finally came true for Auburn's Ariana Kukors.
The world record-holder in the 200-meter individual medley, Kukors settled for a slower time but secured a berth on the U.S. Olympic swim team Thursday night.
Kukors, an Auburn Mountainview graduate, finished second in her specialty at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha, Neb., earning a ticket to the London Summer Games (July 27-Aug. 12).
Kukors' time of 2:11.30 was 1.08 slower than winner Caitlin Leverenz, but 0.25 seconds faster than third-place finisher Elizabeth Pelton.
"I can't say that I'm happy with that time, but considering the amount of nerves I've been feeling the last 24 hours, I'll take it," said Kukors, a Pac-10 champion at the University of Washington before embarking on an international career. "I know I will have to make a lot of changes for London."
Four years ago, Kukors missed the Beijing Olympics by 0.08 seconds, falling short in the 200 IM finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
But she trained hard, improved and fought her way to a long-awaited berth.
"It was the most emotional thing for me," she said of her accomplishment.
Kukors battled pre-race nerves and jitters, but relied on family support to help her rally in the final race.
Kukors holds the world record in the 200 individual medley (long course) and has won seven medals in major international competition, two golds, three silvers and two bronze spanning the World and the Pan Pacific Championships.
Kukors set the world record in the 200 IM (2:06.15) at Italy in July 2009.
Read more on Kukors at www.auburn-reporter.com/news/148023775.html