NBAC pair stroking toward worlds

June 18, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Their goals are lofty. They talk about such things as the World Championships, training for the 1996 Olympics and breaking a record held by a swimming legend.

Yet North Baltimore Aquatic Club coach Murray Stephens says their goals are realistic.

Whitney Phelps, 14, and Kelly McPherson, 16, intend to take another step toward their goals in the eighth annual NBAC Long Course Championship Meet today through Monday at Meadowbrook Swim Club. The meet features 650 swimmers, including NBAC's 1992 Olympian Anita Nall, from 35 clubs in eight states as far away as Alabama.

For Phelps and McPherson, this will be the first meet since they competed with the national junior team in International Paris '92 last month. Phelps was first in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and McPherson placed in the top five in three freestyle events.

Phelps, a Dumbarton Middle School student, produced second places in the 100 and 200 butterfly in the Phillips 66 U.S. Swimming Championships in April. That was dramatic improvement, coming on the heels of her ninth- and 12th-place finishes in the same events in last summer's nationals.

"I'd like to make the U.S. team that's going to the World Championships in Rome in September," said Phelps, noting that to qualify she'll need a first or second in one of the events in the senior nationals in August in Indianapolis. "And I'd like to beat Mary T. Meagher's record."

Meagher's 13-14 age group record of 2 minutes, 7.01 seconds in the 200 fly in 1979 is one of swimming's oldest and most formidable records. It's the sixth fastest ever, a bit slower than Meagher's world record of 2:05.96.Phelps' best time is 2:13.27.

"Whitney has a good chance to make the worlds," Stephens said. "But she'll probably have to wait until next spring for Mary T's 2:07."

McPherson, a Dulaney sophomore, also aspires to the worlds. She's one of the top six women distance swimmers in the country.

"If she has one good drop -- say of five seconds in the 400 or 10 seconds in the 800 -- she'll be a solid contender for a spot on the 1996 Olympic team," Stephens said.

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