Had the top Masters performance in 1995
When you're training for the Olympics, you've got to put in mega-yardage; 15,000 to 20,000 yards a day plus weights, right? Apparently not. John Keppeler, who swims for Davis Aquatic Masters, has a legitimate shot at making the 1996 U.S. Olympic team in the 200-meter freestyle. Recently, he "bumped up" his training to 6,500 meters per day plus some hiking and weight lifting. Before that he was swimming only 3,000 meters three days a week.
Keppeler began his college career at Arizona State, then dropped out in 1987 to swim at Mission Viejo and Multnomah A.C. before enrolling at Cal-Davis, where he's won several Division II national titles in record time. He'll finish a degree this June in agricultural economics and viticulture and plans on becoming a wine maker. While out of school, he earned a berth on two U.S. National teams and qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1988 and 1992.
Keppeler began swimming Masters "for fun and to keep from getting fat" two years ago. But it was not until he was injured last Memorial Day that he realized how much he loves the sport. That's when he decided to give the 1996 Games a final shot. "I'm not looking to win the 200 at Trials," he said. "There are three guys who should make it easily. After that, there are three more spots. I'd like to land one of those."
He's off to a good start. In 1995 he set three Masters world marks with world-class times. His 1:48.81 for the 200 meters (SC) free which would have placed sixth at the world championships in Rio last December, was judged the top male Masters performance of 1995. At the U.S. Open last December he placed fourth in the 200 free in 1:52.23. It should take just under 1:50 to make the squad.
John H. Keppeler lives in Davis, Calif., and swims for Davis Aquatic Masters.
Article about John Keppeler from SWIM magazine, March-April 1995