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Brookwood's Weir has high hopes for second Olympics

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Brookwood graduate Amanda Weir now 26 years-old will be competing in the 400 free relay during the upcoming Olympics in London. Weir, a 2004 Olympian, will be making her second Olympic appearance.

In real time, it was eight years ago. In Amanda Weir's mind, her 2004 Olympic appearance was an eternity ago.

Fresh off her graduation from Brookwood, Weir made the U.S. team as an 18-year-old and returned home, just before starting college, with two relay silver medals.

"It kind of seems like a million years ago," Weir said. "I was just on a roll after high school. I didn't even think about it. I was just so excited. ... I didn't really think about it. I didn't have any huge expectations on myself. I just kind of showed up and swam."

Four years later, Weir was admittedly ill-prepared for U.S. Olympic Trials and missed making the team. Now 26, she is ready to make some more Olympic memories this summer in London.

Her parents, engineer Jim and Craig Elementary teacher Julie Weir, will join her at this Games along with her younger brother Caleb (who will swim for Texas this season) and her husband Chris Davis, who also coaches at her training facility, SwimAtlanta.

Weir has traveled the world for swimming during her career, but has visited London just once --on a brief 12-hour layover during a flying mixup.

"I'm so excited and I just want to soak it all in," Weir said. "When I was 18, I didn't experience enough of it to really savor being there. I came home right after swimming was over and went straight to college, so I'm definitely staying the whole time now and doing Closing Ceremonies and all that. I can't wait to go and even see the other sports. I didn't do any of that last time. It was swimming and I was out of there."

It's clear this trip will be more about swimming for Weir, but she still has some goals in the pool.

Though she narrowly missed qualifying as an individual in her two events, the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, she is still part of a six-swimmer group that will compete for relay spots. The American coaches decide which swimmers to use on the relays based on a number of factors --past experience, performances in training and preliminaries and gut feeling all factor in.

In 2004, Weir swam in the finals of the 400 free relay and won her first silver. She swam in the qualifying sessions of the 400 medley relay, which earned her a second silver medal.

"I didn't expect to be on the medley at all, so that was really cool," Weir said.

The Americans began swimming this weekend, and Weir won't know her relay status until close to the race. She's hopeful that the coaches will call on her, but it's tough to predict.

But it's tough to leave the American record-holder in the 100 free off the relay completely.

"They take two alternates (in the 400 free relay) and Missy (Franklin) and Jessica (Hardy) may have other events that day so that comes into play who swims in morning (for prelims)," Weir said. "Coaches feel things out in training camp, take into account how you've swam during the year and in the past. I wouldn't want to be the coach and have to make that decision. If you qualify for an alternate position, there's a chance you might not even swim at all in prelims. But hopefully they'll put me on there because I know I can swim a lot faster (than Olympic Trials)."

Eight years removed from her last Olympic relay, Weir still has great memories of those races. Swimming for her country, with three other athletes, provided some of the best memories of her career.

"Relays are so fun," Weir said. "You're going to go fast because you have to. You're swimming for your teammates and your country. I don't get as nervous for relays. You've got a job and you don't have a choice. There's not a question if you're going to go fast or not. You have to."