Amy Van Dyken
Success In College
Beginning her career at the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1991, Van Dyken barely missed making the 1992 U.S. Olympic team as a freshman, when she finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle swim. However, she went on to win silver medals at the 1992 U.S. Swimming Championships and took a second and a third place at the 1993 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Swimming Championships. She earned All-American honors fourteen times while at Arizona but was not happy with her progress there and transferred to Colorado State University for her junior year. There she earned numerous awards. Her coach, John Mattos, called her "the type of athlete most coaches only dream about having in their program."
Van Dyken set a new American record at the NCAA Championships in 1994, winning the women's 50-meter freestyle at 21.77 seconds. She earned more All-American honors, was named National Swimmer of the Year, and won a bronze and two silver medals at the World Swimming Championships in Rome, Italy. In 1995 she won three gold medals and one silver at the Pan American Games.
Van Dyken's college success led to the offer of a place on the U.S. Resident National Team, where she would train for the Olympics. Although she did not want to leave Colorado State, she accepted the invitation, as her chance to go for Olympic gold.
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