$TC For some, it will be a steppingstone toward a spot on the U.S. Olympic swimming team. For others, it will be their first taste of international competition.
American record-holder Anita Nall and 12 other local swimmers have qualified to compete in the U.S. Open Swimming Championships, a three-day event starting tomorrow in Minneapolis.
It was in the U.S. Open in Indianapolis a year ago that Nall, then a 14-year-old freshman at Towson High, burst onto the national swimming scene. On the final night of the meet she swam the 200-meter breast stroke in 2:30.53, making her the third-fastest American ever in the event. The time was the seventh fastest in the world in 1990.
Nall came back in April with the second fastest time in history with a 2:27.06 in the Phillips 66 National Championships in Federal Way, Wash. She trains with Murray Stephens' North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
Nall will be joined at the U.S. Open by NBAC teammates Julie Gorman, Suzanne Breeback, Amanda White, Casey Barrett and Mike Raley.
The Retriever Aquatic Club, based at UMBC and coached by Sid Burkot, is sending Dan Van Hemert, Candie Johnson, Cheryl White, Ingrid Kilte and Elysia Moreland. Megan Malchak and Mike Stambaugh will represent the UMBC women's team.
The meet has attracted the leading U.S. swimmers, including 1988 Olympic gold medalists Matt Biondi (world record-holder in the 100-meter freestyle) and David Berkoff (former world record-holder in the 100-meter backstroke). Melvin Stewart, who holds the world 200-meter butterfly mark, also will be on hand.
Australia is sending no fewer than 29 swimmers, headed by world record-holder Kieren Perkins (800-meter freestyle) and world champion Hayley Lewis (200-meter freestyle). Other countries that will be represented include Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and New Zealand.