By Sarah Tolar
LONG BEACH, Calif., July 7. TONIGHT, 15 year old, Katie Hoff joined fellow North Baltimore teammate Michael Phelps as a member of the 2004 US Olympic team by winning the 400 IM and setting a US Open record along the way, with a time of 4:37.67. This time makes Katie the second fastest American of all time, and the fastest swimmer in the world so far this year.
Hoff came off a shaky morning session, qualifying for finals in sixth place, putting her in lane seven for the night swim. She was out to the far left of the first and second seeds, Kaitlin Sandeno of USC and Adrienne Binder swimming for Santa Barbara Swim Club and Auburn.
Sandeno took the race out with an aggressive 1:02.44 butterfly split, while Hoff relaxed her first hundred to help remedy her prelim mistake. Sandeno held her lead until the breaststroke, where both Hoff and Sandeno broke from the pack. But Hoff’s breaststroke charge couldn’t be contained. She took the lead and never looked back, except with an expression of equal shock and delight, to see the scoreboard after she touched the wall.
Sandeno touched the wall at 4:40.39, holding off Kristen Caverly with a 4:42.57.