By Phillip Whitten
University of Arizona freshmen and 1996 Olympic teammates Amanda Beard and Beth Botsford set American records earlier this month at the Texas Invitational Swim Meet in Austin, Texas.
Upon learning that Megan Quann had broken her American record in the 100 meter (long course) breaststroke at the U.S. Open meet in San Antonio, Beard, a silver medalist in both breaststroke events at the 1996 Atlanta Games decided to target Quann’s 100 meter short course record of 1:07.41.
Quann’s mark had been under attack all weekend. The University of Georgia’s Kristy Kowal had come within two-hundredths of a second of the mark with her 1:07.43, while Beard had also come within a whisker of the record with her 1:07.5 in winning the event at the Texas Invitational. In the special time trial, Beard blitzed Quann’s record with a 1:06.67, taking almost three-fourths of a second off the time Quann had set a year earlier.
Also at the Texas Invitational, Botsford, a gold medalist at the 1996 Olympic Games, stroked the 200m (short course) backstroke in 2:07.36 shaving a tenth of a second off Natalie Coughlin’s time of 2:07.46 set a year ago. Botsford also won the 100m back in an impressive 59.6.
Meanwhile, Arizona sophomore Roland Schoeman, a South African, came away from Texas with two records in the 50 free. Schoeman, who ranked first in the world in 1999 in the 50 meter free, first swam 19.22 for 50 yards in the prelims. In the finals, swum over a 25-meter course, Schoeman clocked 21.40 for 50 meters, cracking Bill Pilczuk’s American record of 21.56 set in September. Later, Schoeman swam an official time trial for 50 yards in 19.07. The time erased Neil Walker’s NCAA record of 19.08, set in 1997, but just missed Tom Jager’s U.S. Open record of 19.05.