Have you ever heard of Jared White?
Unless you are a total swimming nut, it's doubtful you have. White, from Charlotte, just finished his sophomore year at Auburn. He's a good college swimmer, but not a high-profile one like Ricky Berens (also of Charlotte and now of Texas).
Yet White beat Michael Phelps Saturday morning in a 50 freestyle heat. Yes, a 20-year-old Charlotte kid swimming for Mecklenburg Aquatic Club beat Phelps.
It was only a preliminary race, and the 50 freestyle is one of Phelps' weaker events. But it's not White's best race, either -- he's considered more of a backstroker.
Both White and Phelps made the 50 final with their swims -- White with a career-best time of 23.04 in the heat and Phelps at 23.24. But Phelps isn't going to swim that 50final tonight. As he had tentatively planned the past few days, he instead will swim the final of the 100 backstroke, where he had the second-fastest time in the morning prelims to backstroke king Aaron Peirsol.
Phelps, incidentally, would have no chance to win that 50 free final. He qualified eighth-fastest. He is not a sprinter -- at least not yet.
Meanwhile, it's been a big meet for Jared White, who is a relative unknown but also made the final of that 100 backstroke. This is a kid who basically walked on to the Auburn swim team this season (after an unsuccessful freshman season at Minnesota, he transferred) and helped lead the Tigers to a national championship.
I'll have a story on White and his win over Phelps in Sunday's Charlotte Observer.