Nall's goggles, luck slip in Pan Pacific 200 heat

August 26, 1991|By Marty Knack | Marty Knack,Special to The Sun

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Anita Nall will keep her goggles on much tighter in the future.

Nall, 15, from Towson (Md.) High School, lost her goggles during her women's 200-meter breast-stroke heat at the Pan Pacific swimming championships yesterday.

It cost the girl with the second-fastest time in the world this year a spot in the final at the major meet of the season for 15 Asian, North American and South American nations.

"I was so nervous," said Nall, who was timed in 2 minutes, 34.66 seconds.

"My goggles fell off after the second 50. Everything becomes so unfocused. You become so disoriented. I just lost my concentration completely.

"I was really disappointed after this morning. But I think it's one of the best experiences I'm going to have. Now I'm going to keep my goggles really tight."

Nall was bumped to the consolation final because of a Pan Pacific rule that allows a maximum of two entries per country to advance.

She was third behind Jill Johnson of Lutherville, Md., a graduate of Dulaney High and Stanford, in her heat. Gold medalist Kristine Quance of Northridge, Calif., won the other heat, in 2:30.65.

Meanwhile, U.S. swimming Jeff Rouse set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 53.93 seconds. The old record, 54.51 seconds, was set by Rouse's current U.S. teammate, David Berkoff in 1988.

Rouse set the record while competing in the men's 4 x 100-meter medley relay. The United States won the gold medal in the relay event with a time of 3:37.15.

For Nall, who had recorded the second-fastest time ever at the U.S. spring nationals, it was a discouraging first international experience Her clocking of 2:27.08 then was 37 hundredths of a second off the world record set five years ago by Germany's Silke Horner.

"I got it together [in the consolation final]," said Nall, who rebounded for a 2:31.10 swim in the evening. "I wasn't that nervous. I was scared to take it out too fast. I had a lot of energy left."

Johnson was timed in 2:32.19 after Quance made it as the first American in the opening heat.

Quance came back in the final to win in 2:27.55, the second-fastest time in the world behind Nall's April effort.

"I'm really happy for Kristine," said Nall. "I'm really happy for women's breast stroke [in the United States]. I roomed with her here."

Nall missed a medal in the 100 breast stroke Friday night by 33 hundredths of a second. She was beaten for the bronze by teammate Kelli King from St. Louis.

But there was no debating the experience was special for Nall. Quance recounted a story about how she reacted being on a team with sprint freestyle great Matt Biondi of Castro Valley, Calif.

"She squealed when Matt came into the room the first time," said Quance. "She said, 'My God, I can't believe I'm going to be eating at the same table and we're on the same team.' "

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