Day 3: Phillips 66 National Championships

Women’s 400m freestyle:
Brooke Bennett, the new queen of American distance swimming, won the 400m freestyle in a time of 4:11.34. It had to be a bit of redemption for her, in the fact that she failed to make the 1996 Olympic Team in this event.

Diana Munz, who burst on the national scene last year with her win in the 1500m freestyle, finished a very credible 2nd to earn her trip to Perth.

Men’s 100m freestyle:
In what could be called an upset, Gary Hall Jr. lost his bid to compete against Alexander Popov at the World Championships. Although, his 5th place finish will probably put him on the 400m freestyle relay, Hall won’t race Popov in the individual event.

Scott Tucker, who captured Olympic gold in the 400m freestyle relay at the 1996 Olympics, won with a surprisingly fast 49.68.

Neil Walker, who missed making the 1996 Olympic Team by 1/100, finished second. Rounding out the relay team will be 1996 Olympic gold medalists Brad Schumacher and Jon Olson.

In addition to Hall, Bryan Jones of Texas tentatively earned his birth on the World Championship Team with his 6th place finish.

Women’s 100m backstroke:
The American record holder in this event, Lea Maurer (nee Loveless) avenged her bitter disappointment at the 1996 Olympic Trials with an impressive win in her specialty. Maurer’s time of 1:01.53 was 6/10’s of a second faster than Beth Botsford’s 2nd place time of 1:02.13.

Botsford, the defending Olympic champion in the 100m backstroke, will be going to the World Championships for the first time.

Men’s 200m butterfly:
Tom Malchow’s victory in this event was almost a sure thing. The 1996 Olympic silver medalist in this event, for the past year and a half, has been the best 200m butterflier in the U.S. His 1:58.37 beat 2nd place finisher Ugur Taner by 7/10’s of a second.

Taner exorcised his demons of the 1996 Olympic Trials by making the World Championship Team for the 2nd time in as many tries.

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