A month ago, we reported that American sprinter Anthony Ervin had returned to the US Anti-Doping Agencies drug-testing pool, which hinted at a potential comeback for the 2012 Olympic Trials.
What went unnoticed later that month is that Ervin did return to competition, though he flew well under the radar.
Ervin, who is now 30-years old, was one of the best natural sprinters we’ve ever seen a decade ago, when he won the 2000 Olympic gold medal in the 50 free. He followed that up a year later with 50 and 100 double-gold medal at the World Championships. Shortly thereafter, in early 2004, Ervin changed his priorities though. Swimming wasn’t his thing anymore (neither was finishing his degree at Cal), and he instead turned to his passion of music.
But just like it did prior to the 2008 Olympic Trials, the sport has called Ervin back. A small bit of vulnerability in the American sprinting crew has made an Olympic bid a reasonable goal again, and Ervin may be gunning for it.
Erving competed on September 25th at the 8th-Annual Alan Liu Memorial Swim Meet in California, which was raced in short course meters.
The meet was very low-key (only 120 swimmers entered), which might indicate that Ervin may just be testing-the-water.
In the meet, he swam a 22.65 in the 50 free, 50.35 in the 100 free, and just for fun a 57.28 in the 100 IM. Those sprint free times convert to 23.65/51.85 in the Olympic 50-meter course. For what it’s worth, his 50 free ranks in the world’s top 50 extremely early in the 2011-2012 short course season. Those times aren’t going to make an Olympic Team, but they’re not bad if this is the beginning of a comeback.
In the meet, Ervin represented Strawberry Canyon Masters, which trains out of the Cal pool. He is currently training with the club arm of the Cal program.
(Note: Ervin’s time broke the old 30-34 age group Masters National Record in SCM, which was set by by Ed Wagner at 22.76 in 2002. That makes him the 3rd-fastest 30-34 Masters swimmer in history in the event, behind two Germans. The World Record sits at 22.13.)