Americans pool their resources

August 8, 2008

Garrett Weber-Gale believes America have assembled their strongest ever swimming squad for the Beijing Olympics.

The 22-year-old from Wisconsin is one of four Jewish swimmers in the US team. Along with Jason Lezak and Ben Wildman-Tobriner, the male trio have been nicknamed the "Three Chaverim" with Wildman-Tobriner and Weber-Gale branded the "hyphenated Jew crew". As well as battling it out for medals in individual events, they are expected to make up three-quarters of the 4x100 freestyle relay team.

Lezak is competing in his third Olympics and has garnered four medals on relay teams, including a gold in the 4x100 medley in 2004. At 32, he was the oldest male to qualify for the American swim team and claims to have "some unfinished business". He competes in the relays and 100 metres individual, although he was edged out by Weber-Gale at the trials.

Weber-Gale, who won the World Championships in 2005 and 2007, will be making his Olympic debut. He expects to compete in the 50 and 100 metres freestyle and on the 4x100 freestyle and medley teams.

Dara Torres completes the Jewish delegation. The 41-year-old mum is looking forward to her fifth Olympics.

She broke her first of three world records in 1982, at 14, and has come back from retirement on three occasions.

Torres won the first of her nine Olympic medals in 1984 and is now set to become the oldest female swimmer in Olympic history.

Torres' support team includes a head coach, two masseuses, a chiropractor and a nanny, at a cost of more than $100,000 per year.

Fencer Sada Jacobson is confident of improving on the bronze she won at the last Olympics.
And kayaker Rami Zur has switched allegiance after representing Israel at the 2000 Olympics.

Last updated: 2:20pm, August 7 2008