Pan Pac update: Katie Hoff makes worlds in 400 freestyle
So what if Katie Hoff found out she was on the World Championship team in the 400-meter freestyle by land, not by water?
Hoff had to sit by and watch two agonizing heats of the 400 freestyle on Friday night at the Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, hoping her time from the recent U.S. nationals would hold up.
Hoff won the 400 free earlier this month in 4 minutes 5.50 seconds but didn’t make it out of the morning heats here at the Pan Pacs. Two Americans would have to put down better times to knock her off the World squad, and only the winner, Chloe Sutton did so, going 4:05.19.
The closest call came from Hoff’s teammate Kate Ziegler, who went 4:05.52 to win the B Final. Allison Schmitt was fourth in the A Final in 4:06.73.
Hoff later joked in the mixed zone that she had finally stopped shaking.
“Totally nervous,” Hoff said. “I knew it was going to be close but not two-hundredths close.”
Clearly disappointed in the morning, she had spoken about the fact she already had made the worlds – on a relay.
“I’m saying that to myself to cushion the blow,” Hoff said, smiling, adding that it was a far cry from last year, when she was seventh at nationals.
Michael Phelps, meanwhile, looked like the most displeased winner after the 100 butterfly. He had little trouble, easing to victory in 50.86, a meet record.
Later he explained, more or less, why he looked so irritated, saying he wasn’t happy with his first 50.
“I was out faster than I was this morning,” he said. ‘I don’t think I was able to really build the kind of speed I wanted to going into the first turn.
“To be able to swim under 51 wasn’t terrible but I think I’ve always said there was a lot of little things I could work on, to improve on.”
Among the other winners were Tae-Hwan Park in the 400 freestyle, and Dana Vollmer and Christine Magnuson went one-two for the United States in the 100 butterfly.
Unfortunately, one of the more highly anticipated showdowns of the meet did not take place. The 200 backstroke was supposed to have been a tight contest between world-record holder Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Lochte.
Lochte won the 200 backstroke final in 1:54.12 to Tyler Clary’s 1:54.90. But Peirsol was relegated to the B final because he was the third-fastest American in the morning heats. Here, only the top two from each country advance to the finals at night.
-- Lisa Dillman