A swimmer's primary opponent is always the clock and his own body.
Ventura College freshman Henry Chung will be uniquely reminded of those confines this weekend, as he attempts to qualify for the Olympic team in his native Hong Kong.
For the opportunity, Chung will spend roughly the same amount of time aboard planes as he will on the ground in Hong Kong -- 32 hours.
"I'll do a little bit of stretching and walk around the plane to keep my body ready for the race," said Chung, who left LAX late Thursday, will arrive in Asia Saturday morning and will return Sunday. "I might have a little jet lag, but I still think I have an opportunity to quality."
To qualify for London, Chung, 19, needs to top 22.8 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle or 56.59 in the 100-meter backstroke. His bests this season at VC are inside a second of those benchmarks.
"He's rested up and ready to go," said Ventura coach Larry Baratte. "The challenge is the flights."
Chung joins Jeff Barrett, who participated in the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008, as VC swimmers to participate in Olympic trials. Although Barrett, who will be inducted into the VC Athletic Hall of Fame next month, did so he had completed his collegiate career.
If he qualifies, Chung would become VC's first international since Sally Tuttle competed in the 1975 Pan-Am Games.
Chung has already experienced the process last quadrennial, when he was just 15. If he comes up short this weekend, he'll have more opportunities to reach the qualifying standards in May and June.
"It'll be great if he's able to quality," said Baratte, "but we have other meets that we're pointing to, as well."
Whatever the result, Chung will return Sunday to prepare for the Western State Conference championships and the California Community College championships later this month.