Double dip for Hoff

OMAHA, Neb. --- Wow, that kid from suburban Baltimore is something.


No, we're not talking about Michael Phelps.

Nineteen-year-old Katie Hoff stole the show at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, winning two events about 45 minutes apart Wednesday night -- and setting new American records in both.

Phelps reached the halfway point to setting his program for the Beijing Games, earning his third individual title of the trials in the 200-meter butterfly after also locking up a spot in at least one relay. The 23-year-old is right on pace in his bid to go after eight wins in China and break Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record of seven golds.

The way things are going, Hoff might be just as busy as her former teammate at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

She added the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley to her growing list of trials wins -- rallying to beat Natalie Coughlin in the second of those, no less.

"I'm in great shape," Hoff said after pulling off swimming's version of the daily double. "I've trained to swim a lot of events in one night. I'm glad my training pulled through."

Hoff already won the 400 IM and 400 free, the latter giving her a spot in the 800 free relay. She's still got two more events to go, the 100 and 800 free, and a top four in the shorter race would get her on at least one more relay team in Beijing.

For those who don't have a calculator handy, that's eight races -- which likely would be just as many as Phelps, who treats her like a little sister but might have to share some of his glaring Olympic spotlight.

Coughlin jumped way ahead on the butterfly and backstroke legs of the individual medley, but Hoff rallied on the breaststroke and freestyle to win in 2:09.71, improving on Coughlin's American record of 2:09.77 set less than a month ago.

Making the win even more impressive: Hoff already had won the 200 freestyle in 1:55.88, beating her own U.S. record in that event of 1:56.08.

Phelps looked a bit dejected after just missing his world record in the 200 fly, but not to worry. The most important races are about a month away.

Phelps pulled away after the final flip to win in 1:52.20 -- just 11-hundredths over the mark of 1:52.09 he set at last year's world championships.


MILAN, Italy --- Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius slowed on the final straight in his first able-bodied race in nearly a year, finishing fourth and well outside the Olympic qualifying time.

The South African finished in 47.78 seconds at a 400-meter race Wednesday at the Milan Notturna meet. He needs a 45.55 to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Pistorius' lifetime best is 46.36.

He resumed training six weeks ago when sports' highest court ruled he was eligible to run in Beijing.

-- Associated Press



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