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U.S. National Championships - Day 5

Quance And Grote Impressive Again


Russ Ewald

By Wednesday, the swimmers were fully recovered from the long night on Black Monday. Kurt Grote and Kristine Quance were impressive again. Each produced personal bests that would have won the gold in Atlanta in completing sweeps of the men's breasts and women's IMs, respectively.

Grote gained the lead in the 200 breast with a 33.59 second lap and breezed to win in 2:12.35. Teammate Tom Wilkens was five metres back in second (2:15.40).

Last in the 200 breast final in Atlanta, Grote said, "If that had been the last meet, I would have left disappointed. I was happy with the gold (in the medley relay), but I knew I could do better in the individual events."

Quance, trailing the KC Blazers' Catherine Fox at the halfway point of the 200 IM, pulled ahead with a blazing 37.93 breaststroke and won going away in 2:13.55. Maddy Crippen again was runner-up to Quance with a big drop, improving from 2:18.48 a year ago to 2:15.22.

Maddy Crippen, runner-up in both the 200 and 400 I.M.
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

"Since I only qualified in the shorter events last year, I trained like a sprinter," said Quance, who didn't make the 200 IM final in Atlanta. "I'm not doing that again. I was so mad I trained my butt off this season. I'm out to prove to myself and the rest of the world how well I can swim."

While Neil Walker holds an American record in the 100 yard backstroke (44.92) and NCAA standard in the 50 yard free (19.08), he'd only swum the 100 metre fly once previously and doesn't train for the event. But the 6-foot-5 competitor used a powerful kick underwater - not surfacing for the opening 28 metres - to win in 53.06 and smash Matt Biondi's nine-year-old meet record of 53.09.

Neil Walker, won 100 fly with seconds in 50 - 100 free, 100 back
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

John Hargis of Little Rock closed in fast to nip Cincinnati's Nate Dusing for second in 53.54. Dusing, who will join Walker at Texas next season, finished in 53.62 to surpass the U.S. 17-18 age group record held by Pablo Morales. Texas swimmers also placed fourth and fifth.

"He's (Walker) a great kicker," said Texas coach Eddie Reese. "He didn't do 400 yards of butterfly this season but put in a lot of kicking."

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