Winning strokes for Hoff, Phelps

Hoff breaks American record in 200 IM

Phelps labors to unsatisfying win in 400 IM

August 02, 2006|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG | KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG,SUN REPORTER

IRVINE, Calif. -- Standing at the starting blocks last night at the U.S. nationals, roughly 45 minutes apart, Katie Hoff and Michael Phelps couldn't have looked more different had they tried.

Hoff, 17, for all her international experience, still fidgets at a furious pace before each race. From the moment she walks on the pool deck, until just before she enters the water, Hoff flutters like a hummingbird. She flaps her arms, adjusts her goggles, scratches her face, pounds her leg muscles with her fists, waves to the crowd, then channels all that nervous energy into the task at hand.

USA Swimming National Championships Through Saturday, William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center, Irvine, Calif. Today: Men's 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 butterfly; women's 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay

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