Weir gives Suwanee another 2012 Olympian


Amanda Weir swims in the women's 100-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Friday, June 29, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Residents in Suwanee may know about their homegrown Olympian, Kibwe Johnson, a track and field star who went to North Gwinnett High School.

But Johnson won't be the only Olympic athlete from the city at this summer's Games in London.

Transplant Amanda Weir, who went to high school across the county at Brookwood, has lived in a Suwanee townhouse since 2007. She qualified for her second Olympic swimming team --she earned two silver medals as an 18-year-old in 2004 -- last week.

While she didn't grow up in Suwanee like Johnson, Weir now considers the area home.

"It still kind of feels smaller than some Gwinnett cities," Weir said of choosing to move to Suwanee five years ago. "It's a nice community. I really get the feeling that even though it is bigger, I'm always seeing the same people in the grocery store or wherever. I really like our green space and things like that. All of that played a part in it."

Location factored in, too.

"It was the right distance away from my parents, 30 minutes," said Weir, who got married to Chris Davis last year. "And not too far that they can't take care of the dog when I'm gone."

Weir's dog also is a sprinter --a 5-year-old Italian Greyhound named Jupiter. With Weir's high-level swimming schedule, Jupiter is frequently in need of a dog-sitter.

Those trips are often to the world's top swim meets, but they don't get any bigger than the Olympics. After missing the Games in 2008, she is thrilled to make another team.

She placed fifth in the 100-meter freestyle (the top six make the Olympic team) at U.S. Olympic Trials, which means she is one of six swimmers vying for spots on the Americans' 400 free relay team in London. Only the top two 100 free finishers compete in that event as an individual in the Games.

But she will have a chance to repeat as a 400 free medalist after swimming the prelims and finals of that event in 2004. She swam the prelims of the 400 medley relay as well, which brought a second silver medal.

Weir also swam in the 50 free at Trials, but fell just short of making the finals.

"I'm definitely happy with (making the team)," Weir said. "I'm so excited to be going over to London. It was just such a different experience than my last go-round at Trials, so I was happy. Was I disappointed with my times and stuff? Yeah.

"I felt pretty good in the first two races, prelims and semis, but I think I let it get away from me a little in the finals. It was a hard place to relax. I'm sure nerves played a little part in that. It's the most stressful meet in the world."

After the pressure of Trials, the tension actually lessens somewhat for athletes in the Olympics, but Weir knows another medal won't be easy.

"We've got our work cut out for us," the 26-year-old said. "The Europeans, the Chinese, the Australians of course, they've all got great sprinters. We've got to work hard to think about medaling at all."