More Double Duty Looms for Swimmer Hoff

July 1, 2008 9:30:27 AM PDT
Hey, Michael Phelps. You've got some catching up to do. Katie Hoff, a teenager from the same North Baltimore club that launched Phelps, is set to swim 900 more meters at the U.S. Olympic trials than the sport's resident superstar.

And Hoff is already 2-for-2, having rallied to win the 400-meter freestyle Monday night, just 24 hours after she set a world record in the 400 individual medley.

She held off Kate Ziegler, America's best distance swimmer, to win with a time of 4 minutes, 2.32 seconds.

Phelps has earned a spot on his third Olympic team, having won the men's 400 IM, also in world-record time on opening night. He figures to swim up to 3,800 meters over the eight-day meet, making him a relative slacker compared to Hoff's anticipated 4,700 meters.

She'll pull double duty Tuesday, competing in morning preliminaries of the 200 free and 200 IM. If she advances as expected, Hoff will return in the evening for two semifinals.


She's already done about a mile of races in Omaha and plans to compete in four more before the week is out, pursuing an Olympic program just slightly less ambitious than the one Phelps will attempt in hopes of knocking off Mark Spitz's record of seven golds in one Olympics.

Phelps will be in action on Day 3, going in the 200 butterfly prelims, where he's likely to be king of the pool. He's the world record holder and there's no Ryan Lochte to challenge him in the event.

But the two rivals and friends will meet up in the 200 free final Tuesday night, and if he advances, Phelps will swim the 200 fly semifinals, too. On opening night, Phelps and Lochte both eclipsed the old world record in the 400 IM, but Phelps got his hand on the wall first.

On Monday night, Hoff became the first U.S. swimmer to lock up two races in Beijing.

Phelps had a relatively light day on his 23rd birthday. What other present did he get besides a spot in the 200 final?

Lochte ordered up a set of grillz, the mouth jewelry worn by their favorite rappers, but the gaudy bling hasn't come in yet. Phelps also was awaiting a gift from his mother, Debbie, who cheered him on from the stands of the Qwest Center.

"Her being here is enough," he said.

Lochte had a busy day Monday, qualifying for the final of the 100 backstroke. World record holder Aaron Peirsol advanced with the second-fastest time, beaten out by Randall Bal's effort of 53.09 that just missed Peirsol's mark of 52.98.

Two more world records fell Monday - both in morning preliminaries, about 2 minutes apart. Hayley McGregory knocked off Natalie Coughlin's 4½-month-old mark in the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.15 seconds, only to have Coughlin take it right back in the next heat at 59.03.

They pulled back in the evening semifinals, clearly wanting to save something for their head-to-head matchup Tuesday.

Christine Magnuson, a Tennessee swimmer, won Monday's other final, claiming her first trip to the Olympics with a win in the 100 butterfly. The victory was helped by Coughlin's decision not to swim, even though she holds the American record.

Brendan Hansen had a big letdown in the 100 breaststroke, despite locking up a second straight trip to the Olympics.

After just missing his own world record in the semifinals, Hansen got off to a sluggish start and struggled home in 59.93, good enough to win but nearly a full second off his record of 59.13. He glared at the scoreboard, stared at the water, then shook his head slightly.

"I'm a little disappointed, obviously, at the time, but you can't be mad about the fact of making your second Olympic team," Hansen said. "If I had to pick a place to break that world record, it would be at the Olympics. I've done it at the trials before (in 2004) and it's fun, but it's a lot more fun when you break it at the Olympics."

Hansen already was looking ahead to the 200 breaststroke, where he hopes to take back the record Japanese rival Kosuke Kitajima snatched away from him less than a month ago.