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INDIANAPOLIS -- Gary Hall Jr. allowed himself the relative luxury of taking six breaths in the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swim trials Monday.
He wont be so greedy next time.
Hall led 16 qualifiers into the evening semifinals with a time of 21.93 seconds, slightly less than three-tenths of a second off Russian Alexander Popovs world record.
Everybodys different. Some take no breaths, but Ive always enjoyed breathing, said Hall, wholl limit himself to 2-3 breaths during the semis. Its something Ive been doing since I was a little kid and I hope to carry it on.
Neil Walker of Austin, Texas, was second at 22.05. Both he and Hall went under the trials record of 22.12 set by Matt Biondi in 1992.
The 50 is hard to swim in the morning, particularly as the first event, because its tough to get going, said Walker, whos already going to Sydney. Gary swam well and Im sure hell get faster each time he swims. Im just hoping to stick with him.
Jon Olsen of Westerville, Ohio, a four-time Olympic gold medalist in relays, was disqualified for a false start in the 50 free.
Two Alaskans competed in the mens 50 free preliminaries, with the best performance coming from 1999 Petersburg High School graduate Derek Gibb, whose family now lives in Juneau.
Gibb, who will be a sophomore at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif., took 31st place with a personal-record time of 23.54. Gibbs previous best time in a longcourse-meter pool was 23.55. The other Alaskan in the event was former Service High School swimmer Andrew Tainter of Anchorage, who took 61st place out of 102 swimmers in 23.90.
One other Alaskan was supposed to swim today former Dimond High swimmer Robert Roosa of Anchorage in the 100-meter butterfly preliminaries. But results for the event were not available at press time. Two other Alaskans former Lathrop High swimmers Maria Reeves of Fairbanks and Patty Nash of North Pole are also competing at the Trials, which end Wednesday.
Brooke Bennett, the defending Olympic and world champion from Plant City, Fla., led 16 qualifiers in the 800 free prelims. Her time was 8:32.84.
I definitely treat it like my baby, Bennett said. I know what it meant in 96 to win the gold and I want to do it again.
Swimming a heat earlier, Diana Munz of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, qualified second at 8:45.43.
Were both very competitive. Were always swimming at each other, Munz said. Sometimes you think you can swim faster, but youre racing her. I want to beat her.
Bennett and Munz already are going to Sydney in the 400 free.
Now we both want to make it in the 800 and show that the United States has the best distance swimmers in the world, Bennett said.
Julie Varozza of Los Gatos, Calif., was third at 8:46.41. Cristina Teuscher of New York, also on the team already, was fourth at 8:39.45.
Three men aiming to be the first black on a U.S. Olympic swimming team had differing results.
Anthony Ervin of Valencia, Calif., virtually assured of a spot on the 400 freestyle relay after finishing fifth in the 100 free Sunday night, was third-quickest at 22.12 in the 50 free. That tied Biondis trials record.
Sabir Muhammad of Atlanta has a tougher task. He was 15th at 23.22, and will need to be among the top eight to make Tuesdays final. Muhammad finished last in the 100 free final Sunday night in his only other chance.
In the 100 butterfly, Byron Davis of Los Angeles was 15th among 16 qualifiers at 54.55. Like Muhammad, hell have to finish among the top eight to reach the final.
Ian Crocker, 17, of Portland, Maine, was the fastest 100 fly qualifier at 52.82 bettering the trials record of 53.09 set by Biondi in 1988.
I just wanted to see what I could do, get out there and see how I feel. I felt good, Crocker said. One thing Ive learned at this meet is youve got to take it one step at a time. Nothing is guaranteed.
Bryan Jones of Austin was second at 53.22 and Tommy Hannan of Baltimore was third at 53.43.
Crocker is the first swimmer from a Maine program to participate in the trials. He trains in a 25-yard pool with such narrow lanes that he can reach out and pull himself along using the markers.
Amanda Adkins of Athens, Ga., whos never medaled at an international meet, led the 200 backstroke prelims in 2:13.38. Lindsay Benko of Los Angeles, already on the team, was second in 2:14.20.
Lea Maurer of Winnetka, Ill., was third in 2:14.86. Maurer, a high school English teacher, barely missed making the team in the 100 back Friday night. She won bronze in that event at the 1992 Olympics.
Beth Botsford of Tucson, Ariz., qualified fifth in 2:15.42. She wont defend her Olympic title in the 100 back after finishing last in the final.
The sixth night of the trials features finals in the womens 200 breaststroke and 100 free, and the mens 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley.