Botsford is fifth in 100 backstroke ZTC

August 17, 1994|By David Woods | David Woods,Special to The Sun

INDIANAPOLIS -- Beth Botsford of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club has yet to attend high school, wears braces and carries the slender frame of a 13-year-old.

In at least one respect, however, she is a mature woman: She doesn't worry about what others might say.

"I've had people come up to me and say, 'You're going to burn out.' I don't pay any attention to that," said Botsford, who finished fifth last night in the 100-meter backstroke at the National Swimming Championships at Indiana University Natatorium.

"I think that's stupid, and I want to prove it wrong."

So does her North Baltimore Aquatic Club coach, Murray Stephens. Botsford has held national records in the 10-and-under and 11-12 age groups, but Stephens said it's impossible to project success or failure based on that.

What he would project is that Botsford can become a contender to make the U.S. team for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and also be a medal contender if she can drop her time to 61 seconds.

Botsford's time of 1 minute, 2.92 seconds was a personal best and only .23 behind third place.

"There's no doubt that in order to be a successful woman athlete in swimming, you have to be fairly fast by 13 or 14 years old," Stephens said.

"She's in a good position now to be a good international swimmer. We hope she's a year away from doing those kind of times."

Although Botsford also was fifth in the spring nationals, where she was rookie of the meet, Stephens said this was "a move up."

Besides Botsford, two other Baltimore area swimmers distinguished themselves in the 100 backstroke.

Lisa Pastrana of Navy Juniors clocked 1:05.42 for 32nd -- 39 places higher than her No. 71 seeding -- and Ingrid Kilpe of the Retriever Aquatic Club swam 1:05.57 for 37th after being seeded 51st.

Stanford's Lea Loveless, the '92 Olympic bronze medalist in the 100 backstroke, won in 1:01.73 over Texas' Barbara Bedford.

Another Texas collegian, 19-year-old Gary Hall, won the night's featured event, the men's 100 freestyle, and tied Matt Biondi's pool record of 49.31. Hall's time is second in the world this year -- behind the 48.21 world record set by Russia's Alexander Popov.

Brad Bridgewater, also of Texas, won the men's 200 backstroke in 1:59.21 over Royce Sharp (1:59.32). Both fell short in an expected bid to break Sharp's American record of 1:58.66.

Janet Evans, the four-time Olympic champion from Placentia, Calif., easily defeated newcomer Cristina Teuscher of New Rochelle, N.Y., in the 400 freestyle to win her 40th national title.

Evans, 22, had a time of 4:08.78, the fastest in the world this year but well off the world record of 4:03.85 she set at the 1988 Olympics.

North Baltimore's Kelly McPherson, in the first of her three distance events here, was 19th in the women's 400-meter freestyle in 4:19.84.

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