Arruda, a West Warwick, R.I. native, competed in the preliminaries of the 100 meter freestyle, finishing 88th of 120 competitors with a time of 51.41 seconds. He had been seeded tied for 112th entering the event. Only the top two (plus as many as four others when considering relays) make the U.S. Olympic Team that will be competing in Beijing, China in mid-August.
Arruda’s best time in this event had been 51.54 seconds.
Eight competitors have thus advanced to tonight’s finals of the 100 meters. Michael Phelps of Michigan was seeded number one, but it was Garrett Weber-Gale who finished first in the prelims with a time of 47.78 seconds, a new American record. Phelps finished second at 47.92. Former American record holder Jason Lezak took third at 48.15. Lezak’s former record stood at 48.17. Thus, each of the top three finishers broke the old American record. The world record of 47.50 is held by Alain Bernard of France, which he set on March 22 of this year.
Arruda still holds the Springfield school records in the 200 yard freestyle (1:40.30 in 2005) and the 100 yard butterfly (51.15 in 2005). He led the Pride to a 9th place team finish at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships as a senior that season, where he finished sixth nationally in the 200 yard free.
“It’s quite an honor for Springfield College to have someone competing at the Trials,” said current head swim coach John Taffe. “Louis is quite the competitor, and is actually swimming faster now than he ever did in college. He has been training very hard, especially in the last year.”