U.S. Olympic Trials: Flash Margaret Hoelzer Sets 200 Back World Record

By John Lohn

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 5. WHAT a way to start the penultimate night of the Olympic Trials. A world record for Margaret Hoelzer. Already qualified for the Beijing Games in the 100 backstroke, Hoelzer captured top honors in her pet event by knocking down the global standard held by Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry.

With Hayley McGregory setting the pace, Hoelzer hung close for the opening 100 meters and turned on the jets during the third lap, then stayed strong through the final lap. Hoelzer touched in 2:06.09 to dispatch Coventry's mark of 2:06.39, set at the Missouri Grand Prix in February. Hoelzer split 30.57 at the 50, 1:02.17 at the 100 and 1:34.02 at the 150. Hoelzer and Coventry should have an epic duel in Beijing.

Grabbing the second slot for China, to complement her prior berth in the 400 individual medley, was Elizabeth Beisel. The 15-year-old was under Hoelzer's former American record of 2:07.16 by clocking a time of 2:06.92. Beisel was third for much of the race, but reeled in McGregory in the last 50 meters. For McGregory, her tough luck continued. She was third in both backstroke events at these Trials, the same scenario she encountered in 2004.

"Seeing the fireworks, I was like, they only do that if there's a world record," Hoelzer said. "I tend to be a little bit of a back-halfer. It was a mentality of go out with Hayley and try to stay with Elizabeth in the back half."

Finishing fourth was Mary DeScenza, the long established 200 butterfly star who has also taken to the 200 back. DeScenza was timed in 2:10.00, just ahead of the 2:10.18 of Kristen Heiss. Sixth went Katie Riefenstahl in 2:10.26 while seventh and eighth went to Teresa Crippen (2:12.16) and Morgan Scroggy (2:12.89).

Full Results

Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
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