The past year has been less than kind to 1992 Olympic swimming medalist Anita Nall.
Mononucleosis, first diagnosed last spring as the flu, reduced and hindered her training and affected her meet performances for part of last year. A recurrence of mono kept her out of the water from Dec. 1 until Feb. 1.
Then, two weeks ago, Australia's Rebecca Brown broke Nall's 200-meter breaststroke world record of 2 minutes, 25.35 seconds with a time of 2:24.76.
Now, tentatively, Nall is attempting a comeback. The Towson Catholic senior will compete in the Phillips 66 U.S. Senior National Swimming Championships, which begin a five-day run today at the Weyerhaueser Aquatic Center in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way, Wash. She hasn't been in a major meet since August.
Nall is entered in the 100 and 200 breaststroke races, in which she won Olympic silver and bronze medals, respectively. The 200 is scheduled for tomorrow, the 100 for Saturday.
"We don't have much feel as to where she is as far as shape is concerned," said her coach, the North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Murray Stephens. "She'll swim in the morning trials in the 200, see how she feels and decide whether to swim that night in the final."
NBAC also will be represented by Kelly McPherson, Whitney Phelps, Whitney Metzler, Brittany White, Beth Botsford and Melinda Rehm. McPherson and Metzler have finished in the top eight in previous national events, and Phelps had a ninth and was named rookie of the meet in last summer's nationals. McPherson, though, has been bothered by a shoulder injury.
"For some swimmers, this is a warm-up for the U.S. trials in August that will determine the team we send to the World Championships in Rome in September," Stephens said. "For Phelps, Metzler and McPherson, it's the last meet before they go with the U.S. national junior team to a meet in May in Paris."
Sid Burkot, who coaches UMBC and the Retriever Aquatic Club, will lead Ingrid Kilpe, Rachel Handshu, Elysia Moreland, David Miller and Michael Gibeau to Federal Way.
"We're expecting our best senior championships ever," Burkot said. "Some of our swimmers have matured to the point where they can handle the pressure. In the past, we've had a few swimmers finish in the top 16 and relay teams that have scored points. We're hoping Ingrid and Miller, older and more self-confident, will stand up and be heard from."
Johns Hopkins' representative is sprinter Eric Steidinger, a two-time NCAA Division III 50-yard freestyle champion.
LOCALS IN NATIONALS
North Baltimore Aquatic Club Anita Nall: 100, 200 breaststroke
Kelly McPherson: 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle
Whitney Phelps: 100, 200 butterfly
Whitney Metzler: 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 and 400 individual medley
Brittany White: 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 and 400 individual medley
Beth Botsford: 100 and 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley
Melinda Rehm: 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle
Retriever Aquatic Club Ingrid Kilpe: 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley
Rachel Handshu: 100 and 200 breaststroke
Elysia Moreland: 200 butterfly, 400 individual medley
David Miller: 200 and 400 individual medley, 400 freestyle
Michael Gibeau: 100 and 200 butterfly
Johns Hopkins Eric Steidinger: 50 freestyle