Swim trials: record, record, record
OMAHA — Michael Phelps got these U.S. Olympic swim trials off to the same start he did four years ago, uncorking a world record in the 400-meter individual medley on the opening night.
His riveting stroke-for-stroke duel with runner-up Ryan Lochte unleashed the crowd of 12,316 at the Qwest Center here Sunday night, and then thrilled them with the stunning time, 4 minutes 5.25 seconds. Lochte himself, at 4:06.08, was under Phelps’ previous world record (4:06.22), which was set in 2007. The early crowd noise signaled to Phelps that "something special is going to happen."
He tried to temper his enthusiasm in the opening lap.
"I can’t get too excited, it’s only the first 50," Phelps said. "... I definitely started the meet off on the right foot. I’m happy to go 4:05."
There would be another world record and one American record for good measure before the opening session concluded: the world record coming from Katie Hoff, who went 4:31.12 in the 400 individual medley, and the American record coming from Larsen Jensen of Trojan Swim Club, who won the 400 freestyle in 3:43.53, edging Peter Vanderkaay’s 3:43.73.
Both went under Vanderkaay’s American mark of 3:43.82, set in May at Santa Clara, Calif.
Said Hoff: "This one’s definitely a shock for me."
That pretty much summed up an electric night of swimming.
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Katie Hoff reacts to her first-place finish in the women's 400-meter individual medley finals. Hoff set a world record. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press