OMAHA, Neb. (WRIC) –Benedictine graduate and NOVA swimmer Townley Haas qualified for the U.S. Olympic team Tuesday night by winning the 200-meter freestyle by an official margin of 0.01 seconds. With the win, Haas has punched his ticket to Rio de Janerio, Brazil to swim for the U.S. in the Summer Olympics and may also participate in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay in addition to the 200-meter race.
Haas, 19, was agonizingly close to a spot on the US Olympic team in the 400-meter freestyle, but he missed out Sunday, finishing third by 0.4 seconds. The top two swimmers qualified for the 400-meter event.
Tuesday, Haas beat out Conor Dwyer, who finished just ahead of him in the 400-meter freestyle, as well as gold medal winner Ryan Lochte, who finished fourth. The top four swimmers qualify for the 4×200-meter relay event.
Interviewed afterwards by NBC’s Michelle Tafoya, Haas could hardly form words.
“I don’t know. It’s still kind of a shock to me,” Haas said before turning to look back at the pool behind him and then apologizing to Tafoya for his speechlessness.
Haas just finished his freshman year at the University of Texas, where he won the NCAA National Championship in the 200-meter freestyle, 500-meter freestyle, and 800-meter freestyle relay.
In addition to Haas, NOVA swimmers Will Riggs, Aaron Schultz, and Ted Schubert competed in the 200-meter butterfly Tuesday.