By Phillip Whitten
Photos by Peter Bick
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, April 5. THE script for the men’s 200-meter breast was entirely different from the women’s event, just concluded. Thee men’s race was all but conceded to WR-holder Brendan Hansen, who qualified over four seconds ahead of the field.
For his part, Hansen was totally relaxed, joking and talking with friends during the B and C finals.
But when he mounted the block, the University of Texas grad was all business. Like his teammate Aaron Peirsol, he went out fast, swimming under world record pace for three laps — 29.00, 1:01.73 and 1:35.22 — before falling off that pace on the final lap. Still, Hansen’s 2:10.20 was barely a second off the global standard he set last July and bodes exceedingly well for next July.
The real battle was for second place, and it was won by Hansen’s 2004 Olympic teammate, Scott Usher, swimming lane 8. Fourth at the 50, Usher seized the second spot at the 100, and gamely extended his margin, touching in 2:13.46. Kevin Swander was third in 2:15.84 with 16 year-old John Criste fourth in 2:16.62.