MINNEAPOLIS -- The victories are nice, Anita Nall was saying, but that is not what she cherishes most about swimming.
Nall, 15, a sophomore at Towson High School, is ranked No. 1 in the world in the women's 200-meter breaststroke and is the American record-holder in the event.
She has won gold medals in several big meets, including last night in the U.S. Open at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Nall won her specialty in a time of 2 minutes, 31.48 seconds.
"Everyone likes to win, and I'm happy about what I did tonight," said the North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer. "But, for me, it's not necessarily the victories that I remember, but the experiences.
"The knowledge I've gained in my years of swimming is what means the most to me," added Nall, who began swimming at 6. "I've learned a lot. As a result, I've gotten better as a swimmer."
In Nall's case, the learning has boosted her to the top.
Her breakthrough came in the 1990 U.S. Open, where she won the 200 breaststroke and was second in the 100. This year, she won both events in the Spring Nationals, setting the American record in the 200.
Nall came to Minneapolis favored in both events. But she was fourth Friday in the 100, which was won by Australian Samantha Riley.
Last night, Nall avenged that loss. Riley was second in 2:33.16.
"The 200 is my best event," Nall said. "I like it because it gives me more time to get into my stroke."
Nall led Riley by 1 1/2 seconds at the halfway point and was never seriously challenged, despite not swimming one of her better races.
"I was a little disappointed in my time," she said. "I felt really good this morning [in the qualifying], but tonight I was a little tight and a little tired."
In the qualifying, Nall swam a pool-record 2:30.85, well off her American record of 2:27.08.
"Considering I had my tonsils out a month ago and missed a couple of weeks of training, I'm pretty pleased with my races here," she said. "I came here wanting to see where I was in my training, and I feel pretty good about it now."
Swimming against international competition -- Riley as well as Australian Kelly Schaffer, who finished third, and France's Audrey Guerit, who was fifth -- should benefit her in the future, Nall said.
"It was a good experience," she said. "It should help me at the Olympic Trials, and if I were to make the Olympic team and swim in the Olympics."
The Olympic Trials are in Indianapolis in March, and the Olympics are this summer in Barcelona, Spain.
"I have to keep training and From D1how I can get better," Nall said. "That's all I'll do until the trials."
Mike Barrowman, 22, of Rockville, won the 200 breaststroke in a meet-record 2:12.87 to go along with his victory Saturday in the 400 individual medley.
Barrowman, the world record-holder in the 200 breaststroke in 2:10.60, swims for the Curl-Burke club and trains under Jozsef Nagy after a collegiate career at Michigan.
"I've got a world record, won a world championship and my one goal is to complete the triple crown by winning in the Olympics," Barrowman said.
Julie Gorman, 24, of Timonium, finished fifth in the 200 butterfly in 2:16.09 to go with her ninth in the 100 butterfly and 16th in the 400 freestyle.
Casey Barrett, 16, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club was 16th in the men's 200 butterfly in 2:06.10.
Not making the consolation heat or the finals from the North Baltimore club were Amanda White, Mike Raley and Suzanne Breebeck.
White, 16, was 20th in qualifying in the 200 breaststroke in 2:42.27, more than five seconds shy of the Olympic Trials qualifying time. White finished second in the Kinney Northeast Regional cross country run Saturday before coming to Minneapolis.
Raley, 17, was 49th in qualifying in the men's 200 breaststroke in 2:37.58. He had been ill most of the week and was more than 16 seconds slower than his personal best.
Breebeck, 14, was 37th in the 200 butterfly qualifying in 2:23.95.
Mike Stambaugh and Megan Malchak of UMBC also did not make it past the qualifying.