At the age of 14, Anita Nall is swimming in fast company.
The Towson High student and North Baltimore Aquatic Club member registered the third fastest time in American history in the 200-meter breaststroke in winning the event at the U.S. Open swimming meet Sunday in Indianapolis.
Her time of 2:30.53 ranks only behind those of Amy Shaw (2:29.58 in 1987) and Tracey McFarlane (2:29.82 in 1988) in the United States. Since August, when she posted a 2:34.73 in the 200 breaststroke, Nall has risen from No. 39 to No. 7 in the world.
Had Nall recorded such a time at the senior long course nationals in August, she would have been named to the U.S. team that will compete in the World Championships Jan. 7 to 13 in Perth, Australia. Jill Johnson, also of Baltimore, is on the team, and her best time is 2:32.45.
Nall joined NBAC coach Murray Stephens' team in August 1989 after her father John was transferred from Harrisburg to Baltimore. Swimming for the West Shore YMCA in Harrisburg, Nall was ranked No. 1 in the country among 12-year-olds in the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke events.
"When she came here," Stephens said, "all her experience was in yards, none in meters. She has gone from a good National Junior Olympics swimmer to No. 7 in the world. She has a real chance of making the 1992 Olympic team."
The world record of 2:26.71 in the 200 breaststroke was set by East Germany's Silke Horner during the 1988 Olympics.