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U.S. Olympic Trials: Katie Hoff Scorches 200 IM American Record -- July 2, 2008

By John Lohn

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 2. THIS girl is something else. It's one thing to try to tackle the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley double. It's another thing entirely to pull it off, which is exactly what Katie Hoff accomplished Wednesday night. Making it all the more impressive was Hoff turning in American-record times in both events.

Having won the 200 free 49 minutes earlier, Hoff erased an early deficit to Natalie Coughlin and a late deficit to Ariana Kukors and won the 200 IM with a domestic record of 2:09.71. The time bettered the 2:09.77 set by Coughlin at the Janet Evans Invitational in early June. Hoff was 1.61 seconds behind Coughlin at the 100-meter mark, but moved ahead on the breaststroke leg.


Heading into the final 50, Hoff was .02 behind Kukors, also a superb breaststroker. However, Hoff went to her reserves and pulled away on the freestyle leg. Coughlin managed to reel in Kukors in the final strokes and took second place with a time of 2:10.32. Kukors produced a swim of 2:10.40, a personal best. Hoff has now won the 200 and 400 freestyles and both individual medley events this week. She still has the 100 and 800 freestyles to come.

"My breaststroke kind of got away from me a little," Coughlin said. "I never felt like I got a rhythm. Katie Hoff is a stud for doing the 200 free-200 IM double. That is an incredibly tough double. I don't know any female swimmer who can do it so successfully."

Rising teenager Caitlin Leverenz was the fourth-place finisher in 2:11.28 and Whitney Myers, the 2006 Pan Pacific champion, was fifth in 2:12.41. The top eight was rounded out by Ava Ohlgren (2:12.99), Dagny Knutson (2:13.91) and Kaitlin Sandeno (2:15.87). For Sandeno, it was her last chance at an Olympic bid.

"I wish I'd swam a little more successfully," said the two-time Olympian. "I guess I really did love it. These are tears of a chapter in my life that began when I was six and is now closing. I would've loved for my last meet to be the Olympics, but that's almost too good to be true. It's time."

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

July 2, 2008 Coughlin is right on, Hoff is a stud. But Coughlin herself really needs to work on her breaststroke obviously, if she wants to be in the medal mix. I'm worried about her endurance, she said recently she's not sure how much she believe in tapering. I don't know exactly what she means by that. And Rice outsplit both of them on free with a 29 to their 30. So they mos def have their work cut out for them.
Submitted by: liquidassets
July 2, 2008 I think Katie was so exhausted from the 200 free final going into the last 50 of that IM. I don't know the schedule of events for the olympics but if the finals of the 200IM and the 200free are on different days katie will go to town on the WR
Submitted by: WUswimmer
July 2, 2008 On paper, Rice did out split them, but if you watch the race, when she touched after breaststroke, her hands didn't register her split, only when her feet came to the wall did the time show (0.8-0.9 later), so she really didn't have that amazing free leg.
Submitted by: SwimDER94
July 2, 2008 Really? OK if that's the case then Rice got Coughlin on both back(!) and breast (Coughlin's JEI swim), and then on breast alone tonight , and she got Hoff on fly and back. So Rice can exploit both of their weak strokes so far, and doesn't appear to have one herself, and can hold her own or better on the backstroke their relative strengths. With Hoff juggling so many events and Coughlin still figuring out how to pace this event, Rice is gonna be tough to beat.

Nice to see the classy Sandeno bowing out graciously in defeat. If not for injury/illness, she could have given it a good run for a 3rd Olympics.
Submitted by: liquidassets
Reaction Time responses do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Swimming World Magazine or SwimmingWorldMagazine.com.
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Natalie Coughlin (2nd) and Katie Hoff (1st) celebrate qualifying for the olympic team in the 200 IM.
Photo By: Peter H. Bick

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