U.S. Olympic Trials: Flash Give Me That Back, Katie Hoff Snatches 400 IM World Record From Stephanie Rice -- June 29, 2008

By John Lohn

OMAHA, Nebraska, June 29. THINK Stephanie Rice was tuned in Down Under?

Three months after losing her world record in the 400 individual medley to Rice during the Australian Olympic Trials, Katie Hoff is back on top of the world in the grueling distance medley. The North Baltimore Aquatic Club star turned in a time of 4:31.12 to eclipse Rice's standard of 4:31.46. She was followed in second place by Elizabeth Beisel in 4:32.87, which was under the former American record of 4:32.89.

The overwhelming favorite heading into the event, Hoff took the lead on the butterfly leg by splitting 1:03.69. Hoff gave the lead to Beisel on the backstroke leg, which is Beisel's strongest stroke, then regained the lead with another superb effort on the breaststroke leg. At the touch on the breast leg, Hoff was well under Rice's world standard and stayed strong on the freestyle.

When Hoff and Rice convene in Beijing, it could be one of the best races of the women's program, though there are going to be plenty of events that could be tagged in that fashion. Meanwhile, Beisel is suddenly a medal contender in a big way and with her rapid development could be in the mix for the gold medal. Remember, she's only 15.

Julia Smit was the tough-luck finisher, grabbing the third position in 4:35.73, a time that would be a national record in nearly every country in the world. More, that time would have qualified for the Olympics in every other year. However, American swimming is incomparable right now and swims that could challenge for a medal in China will be left off the U.S. Team.

Finishing fourth was rising star Caitlin Leverenz, who should contend for a 200 breast spot later in the week. Leverenz was timed in 4:38.54.

Kathleen Hersey (4:42.07), Ariana Kukors (4:42.12), Alicia Aemisegger (4:43.32) and Julie Stupp (4:46.01) rounded out the final.

Full Results

Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.

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Reaction Time Comments

June 29, 2008 Hoff had a great back half. Wow. This could be good news with regard to a possible 400 Free world record tomorrow. Will be interesting to see what Kate and Katie do in that event tomorrow. I am also amazed by Beisel. I thought she was out of it going out 2 seconds slower than the morning. She actually had a faster final 100 than Katie Hoff.
Submitted by: teamwiess
June 29, 2008 Oh yeah and it goes without saying that Beisel set a new 15-16 NAG record in the event.
Submitted by: teamwiess
June 29, 2008 And don't forget Coventry and Miley are right behind, this is gonna be an amazing final in Beijing.
Submitted by: liquidassets
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Katie Hoff celebrates new world record in 400 meter IM at 2008 Olympic trials.
Photo By: Peter H. Bick

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