The Retrievers Aquatic Club will have its largest representation ever in individual events at the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships, which start a five-day run tomorrow in Mission Viejo, Calif.
The Retrievers, directed by UMBC coach Sid Burkot, qualified five swimmers in individual events and a sixth in a relay. They'll join a North Baltimore Aquatic Club contingent of six that will be minus Olympian Anita Nall.
"This isn't the meet Anita was pointing for this summer," NBAC coach Murray Stephens said of the 16-year-old who won three Olympic medals. "She's taking a break and visiting friends before going back to school."
The Retrievers are led by Dan Van Hemert and Cheryl White, who each will swim three events. Ingrid Kilpe, Elysia Moreland and Candie Johnson qualified in two apiece and Megan Malchak will swim the breaststroke leg on the 400-meter medley relay.
"Any of the five could place in the top 16 or even the top eight," said Burkot, whose club is in its sixth year. "It'll depend partly on what Olympians are there. My kids will need the right breaks to place."
Some swimmers will begin their bids for spots on the 1996 Olympic team.
NBAC, for example, is sending three 14-year-olds, Susanne Breeback, Kelly McPherson and Whitney Metzler, competing in their first senior nationals. McPherson qualified by finishing second in the 1,500-meter freestyle in last week's National Junior Olympics, missing first by six-tenths of a second.
"It's a step toward the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials and Atlanta," Stephens said. "This is the way Jill Johnson and Julie Gorman got started in 1984, when they were 15 or 16. Jill wound up in the Barcelona Olympics and Julie won some NCAA titles."
NBAC also is sending Amanda White, who will swim the 400 individual medley for the first time at the senior nationals level, and former Loyola High stars Mike Raley and Scott Conley.