ATLANTA, Jan. 20. SIXTEEN year-old Olympian Michael Phelps set three national age group records for boys 5-16, leading his North baltimore Aquatic Club to a minuscule one-half point victory over the host Dynamo Swim Club in the fastest Eastern Classic ever. THe meet was held in Atlanta, Jan. 18-20.
Nine teams from all over the US competed in the three day meet, which was fast all around, with each team limited to 50 swimmers. When all the splashing was done, the team score stood at:
1 North Baltimore Aquatic Club NBAC-MD 1,803.5
2 Dynamo Swim Club DYNA-GA 1,803
3 Terrapin Swim Team TERA-PC 939.5
4 Tualatin Hills Swim Club THSC-OR 772
5 Industry Hills Aquatic Club IHAC-CA 629
6 N. C. Aquatic Club NCAC-NC 571
7 Birmingham Swim League BSL-SE 402.5
8 Dynamo Swim Cllub B DYNB-GA 243.5
9 Memphis Thunder Aquatic C MTAC-SE 195.5
10 Athens Bulldog Swim Club ABSC-GA 137
11 North Baltimore A.C. 'b' Team NBACB-MD 135.5
North Baltimore won the women's team title with 1020 points to Dynamo's 820, while Dynamo took the men's team crown with 983 points to NBVAC's 783.5.
Phelps, who was voted the Male Swimmer of the meet set new NAG records for boys 15-16 in the 200 yard fly
(1:43.67), 200 IM (1:46.30) and the 100 back (48.68 relay leadoff)
His other times were also "pretty good considering we are in heavy training," according to his coach, Bob Bowman: 500 free – 4:20.42; 1000 free – 9:05.45; 200 breast – 2:01.28; 200 back – 1:46.96; 50 free – 20.98; and 100 free – 44.94.
But Phelps wasn't the only North Baltimore swimmer setting the pool afire. Meghan Sackett, 15, set a pool record in the 1000 (9:44.45) and swam an outstanding 500 (4:45.67), only to finish second to Elizabeth Hill, of Dynamo, who set a pool record 4:45.38.
Hill, 16, who was the Female Swimmer of the Meet, not only set a pool record in the 500, but also won the 100 free (50.64), 200 fly (1:59.35) and 400 IM (4;19.76).
The Dynamo senior girls medley relay team consisting of Ashley Daly (back, 57.65), Melissa Klein (breast, 11:01.83) Hill (fly, 55.41) and Katherine Bell (free, 50.86) set a pool record of 3:45.65. .
In a replay of last year's meet, the team title for the 2002 Eastern Classic came down to the final relay. Dynamo was trailing but had one more relay entered in the event. Its A relay had to win and its B relay place ahead of NBAC's relay to win the meet. That would be no small task considering that NBAC's relay featured Michael Phelps.
The Dynamo senior boys gave it their all, but missed performing that feat by less than a second. The result was a NBAC win by 1/2 point.