NBAC's Phelps preparing for world event

September 01, 1994|By Doug Brown

The North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Whitney Phelps is in Italy with the U.S. national team, preparing for the biggest swim of her life.

The World Championships, second only in importance to the Olympics, start today in Rome with diving, synchronized swimming and water polo, to be followed by the swimming events Sept. 5 through 11. Phelps' specialty, the 200-meter butterfly, is scheduled the final day of the meet.

Phelps, 14, who will miss the first week of freshman classes at Towson High, qualified for the U.S. team by winning the 200 butterfly at the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships last month in Indianapolis.

Her time of 2 minutes, 11.04 seconds is the third fastest in the world this year, behind China's Limin Liu (2:08.54) and Zhu Hong (2:10.62). An Australian, Susan O'Neill, has a 2:11.11

Among the 19 women and 22 men on the U.S. squad, Phelps is the second youngest. She turned 14 on April 15, three weeks before Brooke Bennett, a freestyler from Tampa.

The most seasoned team members are former Olympians Janet Evans, Nicole Haislett, Lea Loveless, Angel Martino, Ashley Tappin, Jenny Thompson, Greg Burgess, Eric Namesnik, Jon Olsen, Jeff Rouse, Royce Sharp and Eric Wunderlich.

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