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Viral strain forces Walkotten to withdraw from best event

The times at the U.S. Olympic swim trials have been blazing this week.

But for South Carolina swimmer Nick Walkotten, the timing of a mysterious illness could not have been worse.

A viral strain landed the senior from Michigan in the hospital Tuesday and forced Walkotten to withdraw from his best event, the 200-meter butterfly.

After throwing up for a couple of days and receiving IV fluids, Walkotten said he was improving Wednesday and hoped to return for the preliminaries of the 100 fly Friday at the trials in Omaha, Neb.

“I was kind of bummed I had to miss my event,” Walkotten said Wednesday. “But I’m starting to feel a little better and just looking forward to getting in the water Friday to race.”

Walkotten tested negative for Strep throat, and doctors think he might have had the flu or tonsillitis. The 22-year-old Walkotten finished 68th out of 81 swimmers in the 100 back prelims Monday, a day before going to the hospital.

Gamecocks coach McGee Moody has been pleased with the performances of USC’s other swimmers, noting that Christy Williams and Kyle Cormier knocked a second off their previous best times in the 100 fly and 100 free, respectively.

How others from S.C. fared. In the men’s 100 freestyle, Kyle Cormier ranked 48th with a time of 50.44, 2.66 behind the leader. Cormier swam in Heat 8 and did not qualify for the night’s semifinals.

In the women’s 200m butterfly, Lindsey Olson ranked 71st with a time of 2.17.33, 9.61 behind the leader. Haley Lips swam in Heat 7 and ranked 88th with a time of 2.20.16, 12.44 off the lead.

Neither Olson nor Lips qualified for the nighttime race.

Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.