MUNZ, DOLAN: THEY'RE BAACK!! -- March 29, 2000
March 29. FEDERAL STORY. They're baaaack! Diana Munz and Tom Dolan, that is. Munz and Dolan, who both were sidelined with injuries last year, came up big winners on the first night of competition of USA Swimming's Spring Nationals.
Munz took the women's 800m freestyle in a very strong 8:29.11, only .05 slower than her lifetime best, winning by more than seven full seconds. Brooke Bennett, the world and Olympic champion, withdrew from the race.
Three other swimmers battled for the runner-up spot with Santa Clara's Julie Varozza taking the silver in 8:36.17, followed by Kaitlin Sandeno (NGSV Gators) in 8:36.49 and Melissa Deary (Bolles) in 8:37.33.
Munz was out of competition all last summer, following an auto accident. Dolan, who was unable to compete last summer following knee surgery, clocked 7:56.65, the best time by an American since 1994. "It's funny how fast people forget about you," Dolan told the press, "but if people are going to forget about me, that will be their mistake, not mine."
Like Munz, Dolan not only won, he won big! And, as in the women's race, there was a scramble for the silver and bronze medals. Veteran Tyler Painter finished second on the strength of a very fast final 50, touching in 8:00.47. He beat out Robert Margalis at 8:00.60, Chad Carvin at 8:02.47 and 15-year-old Fran Crippen at 8:02.54.