I’ve been the Forrest Gump of sportswriters, a witness to all kinds of history. I was there for the Mighty Ducks’ first N.H.L. game and Pete Sampras’s last major victory; for the Giants’ last-minute win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and the Cubs’ playoff loss to the Marlins in the infamous Bartman game.

Yet no sporting event has meant more to me than the United States Olympic swimming trials.

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