Botsford laps up winner's welcome Warm airport reception for N. Baltimore swimmer

Atlanta Olympics

July 29, 1996|By SUN STAFF

North Baltimore Aquatic Club teammates and friends of Beth Botsford turned out more than 100 strong at BWI Airport last night to welcome home the Olympic swimming champion.

The Garrison Forest School sophomore was greeted by balloons and signs proclaiming, "We Love You, Beth" and "Congratulations, Beth Botsford, Gold Medal(s) Winner." The "s" was inserted after she won her second gold.

"The week was exciting and fun, like nothing I had ever done before," said Botsford, who won the 100-meter backstroke and swam the leadoff backstroke leg in the 400 medley relay. "There were highs and lows, but mostly highs."

As for the low, Botsford had no theories on why she finished ninth in her strongest event, the 200 backstroke, after capturing the two golds, but her father Kevin and NBAC assistant coach Tom Himes did.

"She was exhausted and emotionally drained from the excitement of the first few days," Himes said. "Partly because of a shoulder problem, she had trained more for the 100 than the 200. Also, she wasn't as determined for the 200."

Her father noted that Botsford led after 150 meters of her 200 heat before fading and finishing in third place. "She just didn't have it," he said.

The Botsfords had planned to remain in Atlanta this week, but returned after Olympic officials, in response to the bombing, changed the athletes' curfew from midnight to 9 p.m.

The Botsfords will return for the closing ceremonies Sunday night, then Beth will fly with the Olympic team to Washington to meet President Clinton at the White House the following Wednesday. She may swim in the senior nationals set for Aug. 12-16 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Meantime, it was practice as usual at 8 a.m. today at the Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Pub Date: 7/29/96

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