Metzler gains more consolation

August 19, 1994|By David Woods | David Woods,Special to The Sun

INDIANAPOLIS -- Through mononucleosis, hip bursitis and a frightening car accident this summer, Whitney Metzler has persevered.

"It's been a long season," she said.

After the Aug. 10 accident, doctors advised the 16-year-old not to swim for 10 days, much less compete in the National Championships. But competing is what Metzler does best, and so she came from last place after 100 meters to win the consolation final last night in the 200-meter individual medley.

It was the third time in this meet that the North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer has won a consolation final. Still, after having finished third in both individual medleys at the spring nationals, she was dissatisfied. Never mind about whiplash and the walnut-sized lump on her forehead.

"I know it should matter, but to me, it doesn't," Metzler said of her injuries. "It's like not an excuse."

Metzler was driving to practice last week, about 15 minutes from her Glen Rock, Pa., home, when her car pulled to the left on Interstate 83. She tried to steer back on the road but veered right across two lanes and didn't stop until she struck an embankment.

She came out of the crash with stiffness in her neck, but hasn't worn a neck brace except in the privacy of her hotel room.

"I felt like a dork in it," she said.

Metzler, whose time was 2:18.36 at spring nationals, recorded a 2:19.15 after swimming 2 1/2 seconds faster in the last 100 than ever before.

Allison Wagner, 17, of Gainesville, Fla., won in 2:13.88 for her third title of this meet. Brittany White of North Baltimore was 30th in 2:23.04, and Lisa Pastrana of Navy Juniors 34th in 2:23.37.

Kelly McPherson, 16, of North Baltimore didn't have a serious accident like that of Metzler, but it was a bad accident for someone with poor vision. Her goggles strap broke.

McPherson lost her goggles in the first 50 of the 800 freestyle, and she came to a complete stop after 100 meters to search for them. She was in Lane 1 and North Baltimore coach Murray Stephens, who was at pool side, told her to keep going.

L "So I kept on swimming. I just did my best," McPherson said.

Stephens twice tossed the goggles into Lane 1, but McPherson didn't seem them. She wears contact lenses and her vision can (( be blurry even with the goggles, she said, because they fog up. After an 8:47.33 in Wednesday's prelims, McPherson finished eighth in 9:18.86.

Janet Evans won the 800 freestyle in 8:30.82 for her 41st national title and 11th in this event, in which she holds the world record.

In men's finals, world record-holders Tom Jager (22.33) and Jeff Rouse (54.79) won the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, respectively. In the absence of world record-holder Melvin Stewart, who was to undergo a tonsillectomy yesterday, Ugur Taner won the 200 butterfly in 1:59.04.

Jager, 29, has declined his spot in next month's world championships in Rome because members of the U.S. swim team will be required to train and travel together for five weeks. Dennis Pursley, national team director, said an exception could not be made for Jager, who has won seven Olympic medals.

In area men's results, Eric Steidinger of Greater Baltimore Swim Association was 29th in the 50 freestyle, 23.67; Calvert Hall graduate Mark Gabriele of Fort Lauderdale Swim Team was 37th in the 200 butterfly, 2:09.35; and Brad Francis of Trojan Swimming was 40th in the 100 backstroke, 59.46.

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