For Jenny Thompson it was one more trip to the award stand, one more victory lap around the pool and one more chance at her own gold medal.
But Thompson will tell you the individual gold that has eluded her for three Olympics won't be what drives her in the fourth.
Besides, she knows that her winning time of 25.02 seconds in Wednesday night's 50-meter freestyle isn't going to be enough in Athens. To win a medal there, Thompson said she will have to break 25 seconds -- something the 31-year-old veteran has never done.
Thompson, who qualified earlier in the trials by finishing second in the 100-meter butterfly, was the first of four Olympians who qualified in their second event Wednesday night in front of 6,118 at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials at the Long Beach aquatic center. Finishing behind her was Kara Lynn Joyce, who also qualified in the 100 freestyle.
Swimming the last race of the trials, Larsen Jensen set an American record in the 1,500 freestyle. He said his time of 14:56.71 was "full of pain" and not as fast as he had hoped. But overall, he said, he was happy with his performance.
Winning the 1,500 put Jensen, who qualified earlier in the 400 freestyle, in his second individual event. Finishing behind him was Erik Vendt, who qualified in the last event of trials and the first, the 400 individual medley.
Jensen and Vendt will face tough competition in Athens against Australia's Grant Hackett.
Hackett holds the world record in the event at 14:34.56 and is one of only two men to swim the event under 14:50. Jensen said Hackett's record is so strong that it could stand for the next decade, adding that he doesn't think anyone will break it at Athens.
"I don't really even see anyone challenging that -- even him," he said.
Hackett won't be the only Australian causing the U.S. trouble in Athens. Thompson said the U.S. will have to work hard to defeat the Australian women's 400 freestyle relay team.
"I think the challenge for us is going to be to try to find the strength within us and the motivation to go a lot faster and win that event," she said.
The fact that there are several rookie Olympians on the women's team, Thompson said, provides a good balance.
"On paper, we may not be the most dominant in every event, but I think that one of the strengths of the USA team that I've seen in the past is that we really rally behind each other and really act as a unit, and we perform better because of the strength of the team," she said.
After the last award ceremony, the U.S. synchronized swimming team performed, and the 2004 men's water polo team was announced. Then the swimmers took the stage again for the introduction of the team and their coaches. Among them was Teri McKeever, 42, the head coach at California. McKeever's spot as an assistant women's coach makes her the first woman in U.S. history to coach an Olympic swim team.