Dolan Narrowly Misses World Record; Foschi Wins Consolation
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Tom Dolan earned a trip to the Olympics after he narrowly missed breaking his world record in the 400-meter individual medley Thursday night. Jessica Foschi got a victory, but not in the race she wanted.
Spurred by the crowd chanting ``Go! Go!,″ Dolan was a second ahead of world record pace after three legs of the four-stroke race.
He finished in 4 minutes, 12.72 seconds _ just 42-hundredths of a second off his world mark set in the 1994 world championships in Rome.
``I heard the crowd so I knew I had a good swim going and was near the record,″ Dolan said. ``As the race went on, I got more and more into it.″
Foschi put her troubles on hold to win the consolation final of the 200 freestyle, but the 15-year-old has yet to qualify for the Atlanta Games after fighting for two months to participate in the trials.
She was fifth going into the first turn, moved up to second after three laps and barely overtook Kari Haag to win in 2:02.97.
Foschi of Old Brookville, N.Y., swam the 14th fastest time of 2:03.49 in preliminary heats.
``I tried to think about the race, but I kept thinking of all the people here,″ she said in the morning. ``I felt very small in a large group.″
Cristina Teuscher of New Rochelle, N.Y., won the 200 free final in 1:59.50, ahead of Trina Jackson of Jacksonville, Fla.
``I saw my name up there and I said to myself, `Wow,‴ Teuscher said.
Amanda Beard, toting a teddy bear for luck, won the 100 breaststroke and became the first 14-year-old to make the Olympic team since Nicole Kramer swam the 800 freestyle in the 1976 Montreal Games.
Jenny Thompson, already on the Olympic team in the freestyle relay, failed in her second attempt to qualify in an individual event. She faded to seventh in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:02.33.
Foschi was cleared to compete this week after U.S. Swimming replaced her two-year ban for failing a drug test with a two-year suspension.
Starting Friday, she has two other chances to make the Olympic team. However, Foschi is a longshot in the 400 and 800 freestyles, where Brooke Bennett and Janet Evans are expected to battle for the two available Olympic berths.
Even if Foschi placed first or second, it is not certain she could compete in Atlanta because FINA, the international governing body, could still ban her. Its rules call for a two-year suspension if a swimmer tests positive for drugs.
Dolan’s troubles are of another sort. His asthma regularly hampers his workouts.
``The more exercise I do, the worse it gets,″ he said. ``I can’t do anything about it. Most of the inhalers that could help me aren’t allowed. I try to manage the best I can.″
Dolan received another blow a couple of months ago. He was more tired than usual after workouts, but believed the exhaustion to be another symptom related to breathing difficulty.
Instead, doctors said Dolan had chronic fatigue, and it was robbing him of the ability to swim thousands of yards daily. The news scared him, too, since the trials were weeks away.
He cut back his workouts weeks ahead of schedule to rest. Neither Dolan nor his coach Jon Urbanchek was sure how fatigue would affect his chances to make the Atlanta Olympics in four events.
They got an encouraging answer when Dolan beat training partner Eric Namesnik in the 400 IM final. Namesnik qualified for his second straight Olympic team.
``I’m relieved, Tommy’s relieved,″ said Urbanchek, who coaches Dolan and Namesnik at Michigan. ``When someone is not functioning this close to trials after he worked so hard, sure, I was worried. But I tried not to show it. He needed someone with confidence and I had to have it.″
Kristine Quance found better luck a day after she was disqualified for an illegal stoke in Wednesday’s 400 IM despite posting the fastest perliminary time, again was the quickest in the 100 breaststroke heats.
Quance finished second to Beard in the 100 breaststroke.
``The smile on her face said it all,″ her coach Mark Schubert said. ``After a huge disappointment, you wonder how someone will react. She handled it like a champion. I’ve never been more proud of her.″
Beard of Irvine, Calif., won in 1:08.36, breaking the IU Natatorium record of 1:09.29 set by former teen sensation Anita Nall at the 1992 trials.
``There’s no better feeling than winning the race and going to the Olympics,″ she said. ``I don’t think age really matters. It’s how you are in the water.″
Nall is another 1992 Olympian looking for a return trip to the Olympics. At 15, she was the darling of the trials after breaking the 200 breaststroke world record twice in the same day, then won three medals at the Barcelona Games.
Like Dolan, Nall is another victim of chronic fatigue. She was out of the pool in 1994 while trying to recover. Nall finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke Thursday, four years after winning a silver medal in Barcelona.