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U.S. National Championships - Day 4

58.72 For Misty Hyman In 100 Fly


Russ Ewald

Misty Hyman, the 18-year-old pioneer of the underwater fish-kick, had been under one minute in the 100 butterfly eight or nine times. But she'd never gone a 58 until this morning. At the start of her heat, the crowd stood and craned their necks to see when Hyman would surface. She popped up at about 30 metres from the start and turned in 26.84. Being .91 under the pace of Mary T. Meagher's world record didn't necessarily mean she was a threat to break the long-standing record because Meagher finished her race so strongly. Nonetheless, it set Hyman up for a sensational swim.

Misty Hyman, won both the 100 and 200 butterfly
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Off the turn, Hyman kicked underwater for another 16 metres and finished in 58.72 for the sixth-fastest time in history.

Top Six Performances of All Time
Time Name Country Year
57.93 Mary T. Meagher USA 1981
58.38 Limin Liu CHN 1994
58.61 Crissy Ahmann-Leighton USA 1992
58.62 Hong Qian CHN 1992
58.70 Yun Qu CHN 1994
58.72 Misty Hyman USA 1997

"I can't believe it," said Hyman following the race. "To finally do 58 was surreal. I hit the breakouts just right to go with my strokes."

There is a delicate balance to Hyman's race between kicks and strokes, like the number of steps between hurdles for a track athlete. In the final, that balance was thrown off when she got a little too much distance on her kicks. She couldn't quite reach the turn in 12 strokes but doing 13 jammed her.

The disruption threw her off on the back half, too. Turning at 27.32, the goal for Hyman quickly changed from a record to winning the race. Jenny Thompson, who stayed under for 15 metres the opening lap and four kicks off the wall, passed her young opponent halfway through the final lap. But Hyman fought back and regained the lead in the final metres to win in 59.49, with Thompson second in 59.68.

"I have mixed emotions about this swim," said Hyman. "This is the biggest victory of my life. But the time I went tonight was substantially slower than this morning. I thought I raced well. I'm pleased at how I finished.

"And this is the first time I have won where all the top swimmers have been at the meet."

The same can be said for Lenny Krayzelburg, the USC senior originally from the Ukraine. Krayzelburg won the 100 back at the nationals last summer without the Olympians present and this winter without much of anybody there. His major rival figured to be Neil Walker, who beat him at the NCAAs. Following a false start, Krayzelburg trailed the speedy Walker for a lap and a half before overtaking him to squeak out the win, 54.69 to 54.77.

"I'm surprised at the time," said Krayzelburg. "I knew it would be a good race. He goes out and hangs on. I try to build to my second 50. I didn't worry about him being ahead. My goal is to swim my own race."

Chad Carvin also came from behind to win. The former Arizona standout was two body lengths back halfway through the 400 free and didn't catch leader John Piersma until the final 10 metres. He edged the Michigan swimmer, 3:50.13 to 3:50.49.

"I wasn't feeling like I had easy speed, so I couldn't go out fast," said Carvin. "I'd have to pick it up each 100. I saw myself go by him near the finish. He gave me a good fight. He didn't give up at all."

Jenna Street, won the 200 breaststroke
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

With four swimmers tightly bunched throughout the final lap of the women's 200 breaststroke, 15-year-old Jenna Street (2:28.97) touched out more heralded breaststrokers Kristy Kowal (2:29.03), Kristine Quance (2:29.31), and Maddy Crippen (2:29.49). Street trained with the Bolles club the last two summers but lives in Tennessee and was a leading age grouper under coach John Connor of Bristol.

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