Scott Fowler

His dream could begin in less than a minute

Over a four-year period, we live through 2,103,840 minutes.

Swimmer Mark Gangloff is most concerned with a single one of them.

Gangloff's specialty is the 100-meter breaststroke. He has never broken the one-minute mark in the race – his best time is 1:00.24.

It might take a time that starts with “59,” though, to make the U.S. Olympic team.

And Gangloff, who swims for the Mecklenburg Aquatic Club, would love to post one in the final.

Those are the 60 seconds he has been pointing toward for the past four years – Monday night's final in the men's 100 breaststroke.

“If Mark does a 59.5 in the trials, he should consider that ultra-successful no matter where he finishes,” said Gangloff's coach, Dave Marsh. “But I truly expect him to make the Olympic team.”

Gangloff did make the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 in the 100 breast, finishing second in the Olympic trials to arch-rival Brendan Hansen. Hansen and Gangloff have been competing since they were “12 or 13,” Gangloff said.

Hansen holds the world record at 59.13. Their races have a long-established pattern – Gangloff starts faster and leads after the first 50 meters, but Hansen passes him in the final 25 meters.

“We've raced maybe 50 times over the years,” Gangloff said of Hansen. “I've beaten him maybe two or three of those.”

But Hansen, who trains in Texas, has heard how well Gangloff has been swimming over the past few months.

“Mark has been around a long time,” Hansen said. “He hasn't quite been able to take that next step, but I think he will any day now. I lose sleep at night thinking about him – and my other competitors, too. I know there's a big target on my chest.”

Gangloff, 26, grew up in Ohio and swam collegiately at Auburn under Marsh. When Marsh relocated to Charlotte in 2007 to head MAC's Team Elite, Gangloff was one of the first swimmers to follow him.

Although he hasn't been here terribly long, Gangloff has established some roots. He and his wife Ashley have bought a house and Ashley, a former national-level diver, has gotten a job in town.

Marsh has long admired Gangloff's precision. “He's the most meticulous, detail-oriented swimmer I've ever coached,” Marsh said.

That helped Gangloff achieve a gold medal in 2004 in Greece. He swam a leg of a U.S. relay in an early heat, qualifying him for the honor. As an individual in the 100 breaststroke, he was fourth.

“That was disappointing, not to get a medal in my individual event,” Gangloff said. “If I had just done my preliminary time, I would have been third.”

Gangloff isn't sure whether he will stick around swimming for the 2012 Olympics. He is sure, however, that he wants to eventually become a swim coach.

For now, though, he's staying in the water.

For just another minute.

Or, preferably, a fraction less.

Over a four-year period, we live through 2,103,840 minutes.

Swimmer Mark Gangloff is most concerned with a single one of them.

Gangloff's specialty is the 100-meter breaststroke. He has never broken the one-minute mark in the race – his best time is 1:00.24.

It might take a time that starts with “59,” though, to make the U.S. Olympic team.

And Gangloff, who swims for the Mecklenburg Aquatic Club, would love to post one in the final.

Those are the 60 seconds he has been pointing toward for the past four years – Monday night's final in the men's 100 breaststroke.

“If Mark does a 59.5 in the trials, he should consider that ultra-successful no matter where he finishes,” said Gangloff's coach, Dave Marsh. “But I truly expect him to make the Olympic team.”

Gangloff did make the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 in the 100 breast, finishing second in the Olympic trials to arch-rival Brendan Hansen. Hansen and Gangloff have been competing since they were “12 or 13,” Gangloff said.

Hansen holds the world record at 59.13. Their races have a long-established pattern – Gangloff starts faster and leads after the first 50 meters, but Hansen passes him in the final 25 meters.

“We've raced maybe 50 times over the years,” Gangloff said of Hansen. “I've beaten him maybe two or three of those.”

But Hansen, who trains in Texas, has heard how well Gangloff has been swimming over the past few months.

“Mark has been around a long time,” Hansen said. “He hasn't quite been able to take that next step, but I think he will any day now. I lose sleep at night thinking about him – and my other competitors, too. I know there's a big target on my chest.”

Gangloff, 26, grew up in Ohio and swam collegiately at Auburn under Marsh. When Marsh relocated to Charlotte in 2007 to head MAC's Team Elite, Gangloff was one of the first swimmers to follow him.

Although he hasn't been here terribly long, Gangloff has established some roots. He and his wife Ashley have bought a house and Ashley, a former national-level diver, has gotten a job in town.

Marsh has long admired Gangloff's precision. “He's the most meticulous, detail-oriented swimmer I've ever coached,” Marsh said.

That helped Gangloff achieve a gold medal in 2004 in Greece. He swam a leg of a U.S. relay in an early heat, qualifying him for the honor. As an individual in the 100 breaststroke, he was fourth.

“That was disappointing, not to get a medal in my individual event,” Gangloff said. “If I had just done my preliminary time, I would have been third.”

Gangloff isn't sure whether he will stick around swimming for the 2012 Olympics. He is sure, however, that he wants to eventually become a swim coach.

For now, though, he's staying in the water.

For just another minute.

Or, preferably, a fraction less.

  Comments