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Old 03-25-2010, 01:02 PM   #1
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swg is a jewel in the roughswg is a jewel in the roughswg is a jewel in the rough
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If the Bearcats senior is victorious at NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships that begin Thursday at Ohio State University in Columbus, it hardly would be a shock.

Schneider believes it would be an upset if he didn't win.

"I feel like I'm the favorite," he said. "If I run my race, I'll come out victorious. The only person who can beat me is me."

Schneider is the No. 1 seed in the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.08 seconds at the Big East championships in Pittsburgh, setting UC meet and pool records. But Schneider, a Taylor High School graduate, has gotten little respect nationally.

"Some bloggers don't even have me finishing in the top three (in the 50 free)," he said. "But it's in my hands. I just need to get my mind right and get into a zone. There's more pressure this time. That's going to be the biggest task to overcome."

Last season, Schneider was just beginning to make a name for himself and was a decided underdog to California's Nathan Adrian in the 50 free at the NCAA meet. Adrian was ranked No. 1 nationally in the event.

This year, the tables are turned, with Adrian the No. 2 seed behind Schneider at 19.10.

"He's still the only person I'm worried about," Schneider said. "I would never underestimate my competition. But if I'm swimming my best, I feel like I can't be beat."

Auburn's Gideon Louw (19:18) and Texas' James Feigen (19.24) also are challengers in the 50 free. UK's Eric McGinnis is seeded sixth.

Schneider also will compete this week in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle.

"But those aren't my money-makers," he said.

Schneider, a two-time honorable mention all-America selection, is swimming in three events for the second consecutive year. He's the No. 9 seed in the 100 butterfly at 46.44 and No. 11 in the 100 free at 43.00. He won Big East titles in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly, setting school, meet and pool records in each en route to being named league swimmer of the year for a second straight season.

He was honorable mention All-America in the 50 free at last year's NCAA meet, finishing 15th in 19.43. An illness two weeks prior to the meet resulted in a 15-pound weight loss, and Schneider fell well short of his goals.

Now, with possible sponsorships on the line that could help fund his training for the 2012 Olympics, Schneider is leaving nothing to chance. He has improved his nutrition and even refrained from riding his motorcycle.


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