By John Lohn
Photos by Peter H. Bick
MONTREAL, Canada, July 25. LABELED as the next standout female from the United States, Katie Hoff earned the first world championship of her career on Monday night, as she lowered her own American record in the 200 individual medley and posted the second-fastest time in history. In command for the entire race, Hoff touched the wall in 2:10.41.
Hoff’s time established a championship record and trails only the 2:09.72 swim of China’s Wu Yanyan from 1997. Wu, however, was suspended for doping violations after setting that record, though the mark was never wiped from the books. Hoff’s time bettered the 2:10.75 performance of Yana Klochkova at the 2003 World Championships.
Hoff received a challenge from Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry, who completed her four laps in 2:11.13, a blazing time in its own right. The bronze medal was awarded to Australia’s Lara Carroll, who turned in a swim of 2:13.32. The United States’ Whitney Myers was fourth in 2:13.90 and was followed by Poland’s Katarzyna Baranowska (2:14.39).
Australia’s Brooke Hanson was the sixth-place finisher, thanks to an effort of 2:14.70 and seventh was secured by Japan’s Maiko Fujino (2:15.27). Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos rounded out the field in 2:16.09. Still slated to swim the 400 I.M. and 200 free, Hoff could leave these championships as the darling of American swimming.