U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS
Brendan Hansen, center, averted his eyes yesterday as Scott Spann and Eric Shanteau looked up at the timing clock after the 200-meter breaststroke final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb. Hansen, who held the world record as recently as a month ago, finished fourth, meaning he will not compete in the event at next month's Olympic Games in Beijing.
Hansen falls short in the 200 breast, the biggest stunner yet at the swim trials
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OMAHA, Neb. » As swimmers in the 200-meter breaststroke, the first event of the night session, hit the pool deck at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials yesterday, fans of Longhorn Aquatics in the end zone seats high above the starting blocks held up placards reading "Brendan" in support of Brendan Hansen, the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist and former world record holder in the event.
Turned out they backed the wrong Longhorn.
Sun falls short in 200 back semis
Ewa Beach's Hongzhe Sun ('Iolani '03) failed yesterday in his second and final attempt to make the U.S. Olympic swim team.
At the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., Sun advanced to the semifinals of the 200-meter backstroke with a preliminary heat time of 2 minutes, 1.01 seconds. The six-time Stanford All-American finished 11th in the semifinals in 1:59.68 - well off his personal best of 1:40.25; only the top eight advanced to the final.
Sun, who was born in Shanghai became a U.S. citizen while in high school. He also competed in the 100 back earlier this week but did not advance out of the semifinals.
From staff and wire reports
In the biggest upset of the trials, two of Hansen's teammates, Scott Spann and Eric Shanteau, swam him down in the final 50 meters to earn the two Olympic berths. Hansen, who led at the 150-meter mark, slipped to fourth as Scott Usher also passed him at the end. That wrecked the anticipated Olympic showdown between Hansen and Japan's Kosuke Kitajima, who took the world record from Hansen last month.
"When I came to the pool tonight, I didn't have a really good feeling, in warm-up and everything in general," said Hansen, who already made the Olympic team by winning the 100 breaststroke Monday night. "Those guys just brought it tonight. They really did. I trained with all those guys. Maybe I taught them a little too well."
No American or world records fell last night.
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Dara Torres, who is trying to make her fifth Olympic team, finished second in her 100 freestyle semifinal heat last night.
OMAHA, Neb. » Brendan Hansen clung to the lane rope, glaring at the scoreboard. No matter how long he stared, the shocking result just wouldn't go away.
He wasn't first - or even second.
He won't be swimming one of his signature events at the Beijing Olympics.
In the first major stunner of the U.S. swimming trials, Hansen failed to make the Olympic team in the 200-meter breaststroke last night. The world record-holder less than a month ago was knocked out by a fourth-place showing, laboring to the finish in the wake of three countrymen.
Hansen's only solace: He still has a spot in the 100 breast and, most likely, the 400 medley relay.
It was of little comfort on this night.
"I did my best," said Hansen. "It just wasn't there."
Hansen wasn't the only big name to falter on the fifth night of the meet, which failed to produce a world record for the second straight night. Six were set over the first three days.
Katie Hoff, who already had qualified for four individual events and one relay, failed to advance out of the semifinals of the 100 freestyle, denying her a chance to go for as many as eight medals in Beijing.
Hansen, on the other hand, has long been this country's top breaststroker, and the crowd gasped when he touched the wall behind three others.
He led the first 150 meters, only to fade badly on the final lap as Scott Spann - a Hansen training partner - powered to the biggest win of his career in 2 minutes, 9.97 seconds. Eric Shanteau, who also trains with Hansen, was second in 2:10.36 and Scott Usher third in 2:11.00.
Hansen finished in 2:11.37 seconds - nearly 3 seconds slower than his U.S. record.
Michael Phelps had a relatively easy night, posting the second-fastest time in the semis of the 200 individual medley.
Natalie Coughlin was the top qualifier for today's final in the women's 100 free. She won her heat in 53.64, touching just ahead of 41-year-old Dara Torres (53.76), the four-time Olympian who has twice retired from swimming but is back again - 24 years after her first U.S. trials.
Garrett Weber-Gale locked up his first trip to the Olympics, winning the 100 freestyle at 47.92. Elaine Breeden won the 200 butterfly in 2:06.75.