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Monday, June 16

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THE Morning Swim Show continues its look into the effect the East German system of systematic drug doping had on the 1976 USA women's Olympic team with Monday's Ready Room interview with 1976 Olympian Maryanne Graham-Keever. h

Graham-Keever, now a coach for the Scottsdale Aquatics Club, talks about her debut on the world stage in 1972, where, after only two years of swimming, she attended the Olympic Trials. She made the world rankings in 1973 in the backstroke and attended the world championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where she and the rest of the world got their first glimpse of the East German women.

"No one knew what to expect of these East German women because they weren't on the scene in 1972," she said. "We all took a step back to look at what's going on."

In 1974, the USA swam a dual meet against the East Germans, and Graham-Keever said the American men and women put up a united front and she said "it made a statement" that the American women fought hard against the East Germans.

At the 1976 Olympic Trials, Graham-Keever slipped on the start of the 100 back, finishing fifth. Recollecting the race, Graham-Keever said the oils on her feet from a recent rubdown caused her to slip. "It wasn't my main race," she said, adding her coach, Mark Schubert, was very supportive and got her prepared for the 200 back, her main race.

Graham-Keever said her motivation to make the team came from her strong training base. "I knew no one had better workouts than me."

She won the race knowing she could do better in the Olympic race, though she was aware she was going to face the East German team again. She said she noticed the physical changes in many of the women she'd raced back in 1973 and 1974, and recounts hearing deep voices in the women's locker room that belonged to the East German women.

"We thought we were in the men's bathroom," she said.

The experience of watching the East Germans win every event was brutal, Graham-Keever said, but she added that the 1976 team, men and women, were very close because of the hardship. Graham-Keever finished 10th in the 200 back and thought she could have swum faster but said she knows she gave it her all.

The nationals in Philadelphia that summer was to be her final meet, and Graham-Keever talks about the emotion of possibly never seeing her teammates and competitors again.

Graham-Keever concludes the interview by talking about visualization techniques she learned from Mark Schubert and the things she tries to teach to her swimmers today.

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