Hardt 14th at swim nationals

INDIANAPOLIS - Carson City's Julie Hardt finished 14th overall in the women's 200 freestyle on the third day of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Friday afternoon.

Hardt, a Carson High School grad swimming for Reno Aquatics, qualified for the semifinals by finishing 13th overall in the preliminaries at 2 minutes, 2.21 seconds. Her time in the semis was 2:03.23, more than a second slower than her prelim time.

Hardt was the only Carson Country swimmer to compete on Friday. Her best event, the 800 free, will begin Monday with the preliminaries, then conclude on Tuesday with the finals. Carson City's Lauren Costella, swimming for the Carson Tigersharks, will also swim in that event.

Also competing Monday will be Jeff Mangor, who swims the 100 butterfly.

Nationally, Josh Davis broke a 12-year-old American record and B.J. Bedford finally broke through Friday night. But Lenny Krayzelburg couldn't send a message to the Australians by breaking his own world mark in the backstroke.

Krayzelburg was considered the best hope to set the first world record of the U.S. Olympic trials, coming within 0.07 seconds during the semifinals of the 100-meter backstroke.

The 24-year-old native of the Ukraine broke out his high-tech ''jammer'' bodysuit - stretching from waist to knees - and donned a tight-fitting cap in the final, intent on breaking the time of 53.60 set last August. Earlier Friday, he said it was important to show the Australians that ''we're ready to go.''

The powerful Aussies, led by Ian Thorpe, set three records at their own trials in May.

With a sellout crowd at the Indiana University Natatorium roaring him on, Krayzelburg went out too fast and faded at the end to finish in 53.84. Still, he'll be heading to the Olympics for the first time, beating Neil Walker by more than a second on Day 3 of the trials.

''I was a little disappointed, but I can't complain,'' said Krayzelburg, who came to the United States in 1989 and gained citizenship in 1995. ''I made the Olympics. It got a big monkey off my back.''

Krayzelburg looked in the stands toward his father, Oleg, who held up his hands as if to say, ''What happened?''

''He's probably disappointed that I didn't get the record,'' Krayzelburg said. ''But we'll save that for Sydney.''

Davis was on world-record pace halfway through the men's 200 freestyle, then held on to finish in 1:47.26. That eclipsed Matt Biondi's mark of 1:47.72 in the 1988 Seoul Olympics but was still nearly two seconds off the world record, held by Thorpe.

Davis, 27, of Austin, Texas, won three gold medals in the 1996 Atlanta Games - the most of any male athlete.

''There's nothing like wearing the red, white and blue,'' he said. ''The USA is the best country in the world. It's only right that we have the best athletes at the Olympics.''

Bedford failed to even make the Olympic team at her last three trials, but she finally ended her 12-year wait in the women's 100 backstroke. The 27-year-old native of Etna, N.H., stretched for the wall and immediately looked toward the scoreboard, pumping her fist in exultation when the time of 1:01.85 was flashed.

''I am overwhelmed,'' she said, after jumping up and down on the pool deck. ''I never thought this dream of mine would come true, but it has.''

The 27-year-old swimmer began to cry.

''I probably won't be able to describe this for three or four years,'' Bedford said. ''I'm overwhelmed, I'm ecstatic, I'm effervescent, I'm in excruciating pain.''

Four years ago, Bedford just missed the team by finishing third in the 100 backstroke in the 1996 trials. She was bartending during the Atlanta Games, pouring drinks while customers watched the swimming on television.

''I was like, 'Get that crap off the TV,''' she said earlier in the week, laughing.

Courtney Shealy of Columbia, S.C., made her first Olympic team, hanging on for second at 1:02.05 to beat out high school teacher Lea Maurer, the American record holder in the event. Maurer hung over the lane line, covering her eyes in anguish when she realized she had missed the Olympic team by 0.2 seconds.

''I swam a good race plan and it just wasn't good enough,'' said Maurer, 29, who won two medals in the 1992 Games. ''For some reason, it was harder than it should have been.''

Sixteen-year-old Megan Quann of Puyallup, Wash., also is heading to the Olympics for the first time after winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.26 - just 0.14 off her American record set a day earlier. Staciana Stitts of Carlsbad, Calif., took the other spot on the team at 1:07.79.

Shealy's more heralded teammate at the University of Georgia, Kristy Kowal, came up short of the Olympic squad by one-hundredth of a second. The 1998 world champion touched the wall at 1:07.80.

Trailing Krayzelburg, Walker earned a spot on the Olympic team at 54.85. Davis was followed by Scott Goldblatt of Austin, Texas, who made his first Olympic team at 1:48.12. Chad Carvin and Klete Keller, who already qualified for the team, finished 3-4 to earn spots on the 800 relay in Sydney.

In the morning prelims, Tom Malchow made a run at his world record in the 200 butterfly. Wearing a bodysuit with only his arms exposed, he was a half-second under world record pace at 150 meters before slowing to win in 1:55.67.

Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist, took it easy in the evening semis, moving on to the final at 1:56.67. He set the world record of 1:55.18 in June.

''I was a little too aggressive in the morning and a little too cautious in the evening,'' Malchow said. ''I've got to find a happy medium.''

Malchow said it's not important to set a record at the trials.

''It would be nice, but it's not crucial,'' he said. ''By and large, the meet has been fast. Maybe we won't set any records here. Hopefully, those will come in Sydney.''

Samantha Arsenault of Peabody, Mass., heads into the final of the 200 freestyle as the top qualifier at 2:00.16. Cristina Teuscher, a gold medalist in 1996, was top qualifier in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:14.21.

It was not a good night for 1996 medalists:

-Beth Botsford finished last in the eight-woman final of the 100 backstroke after winning gold in the same race at Atlanta.

-Brad Bridgewater was seventh in the men's 100 backstroke; he won the 200 backstroke at the 1996 Olympics.

-Amanda Beard, who captured a gold and two silvers in Atlanta, placed last in the 100 breaststroke.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment