NBAC's Phelps points toward worlds

August 21, 1994|By David Woods | David Woods,Special to The Sun

INDIANAPOLIS -- Swimming, perhaps more than any other sport, is one in which athletes must not stand pat.

Do so, and another teen-age phenom will kick past you. Fail to improve your times, and you're left in their wake.

Thus, those on the North Baltimore Aquatic Club weren't spending a lot of time yesterday reflecting on the seven-day National Swimming Championships. It was on to next month's World Championships, next spring's nationals, the next Olympic trials.

"It's a very important training year," coach Murray Stephens said of the coming season. "You can do a lot more experimental things and test out things you might want to do the following year."

The following year is 1996, when the Olympic Games will be held in Atlanta. By the time swimmers get to the 1995 spring nationals, the Olympic trials will be only 12 months away back at Indiana University.

But before spring nationals, where North Baltimore will try to repeat its women's team title, 14-year-old Whitney Phelps heads for the World Championships in Rome. There the U.S. champion will swim the 200-meter butterfly Sept. 11.

Stephens left the Towson High School freshman with 10 pages of workouts to prepare her for that day.

Phelps will "go back and retrain," Stephens said, but must not overtrain or she'll be too tired to race. "And balance all that with being in a foreign country."

At these summer nationals, Stephens said that he had hoped for bigger time drops but that North Baltimore swimmers raced well in the evening finals. Three-time Olympic medalist Anita Nall has left the club, which will make it tougher to duplicate a team title next spring.

"I think we can still do it. We have a lot of room for improvement," Kelly McPherson said.

McPherson, 16, finished seventh yesterday in the 1,500-meter freestyle in 16 minutes, 51.34 seconds. It wasn't her fastest time, but she said she was tired from being here all week. Stephens said most swimmers were 10 to 15 seconds slower than their best. "The meet's been real hard," said McPherson, who had never before swum in a meet as long as seven days.

Janet Evans needn't fear losing -- certainly not in a race against other Americans. The four-time Olympic champion cruised to victory in the 1,500 in a pool record of 16:24.24 for her 42nd national title. Tracy Caulkins holds the all-time record of 48.

Both finals yesterday were in non-Olympic events. In the other, the men's 800 freestyle, University of Michigan swimmer Tom Dolan, a four-time champion at the spring nationals, won his first title of this meet in 8:04.34.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.