Thursday, July 8, 2004

Phelps: One event down, one world record broken

Olympic Swimming Trials

By Paul Newberry
The Associated Press

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Michael Phelps began his quest for Olympic history with a world record. Phelps, the 19-year-old swimmer who hopes to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in Athens, broke his own mark in the 400-meter individual medley with an electrifying swim at the U.S. Olympic Trials Wednesday night.

In the first final of the eight-day event, Phelps put up a time of 4 minutes, 8.41 seconds, eclipsing the record of 4:09.09 he set at last year's world championships.

Phelps was off the pace through his first leg, the butterfly, but made up for it and then some in the backstroke.

"I'm here," he said. "I might as well try to swim my best."

At the Olympics, Phelps will attempt to top Spitz's seven golds at Munich in 1972.

First, Phelps has to get through the Trials, where he is scheduled to swim six individual events.

Wednesday, Erik Vendt finished second to Phelps - by more than 5 1/2 seconds - in the 400 IM to claim a spot on the Olympic team.

Two other finals were held Wednesday evening.

Klete Keller won the 400 freestyle with an American record of 3:44.19. He won bronze in the same event at Sydney four years ago. Larsen Jensen settled for second at 3:46.56 - also lower than the previous record.

CHCA graduate Kevin Nead placed 13th (4:27.48), missing the final heat.

In the women's 400 medley, 15-year-old Katie Huff swam the second-fastest time in American history, 4:37.67, just missing Summer Sanders' 12-year-old national record of 4:37.58. Kaitlin Sandeno, an Olympic medalist, settled for second at 4:40.39.

In the women's 100 butterfly, Ursuline graduate Whitney Myers placed ninth in 59.72, missing today's final heat by .07 seconds. South Dearborn graduate Katie Robinson finished 14th (1:00.99).

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