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Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - Page updated at 04:45 P.M.
By Seattle Times staff
More than a dozen U.S. Olympians from the 2000 Sydney Games including Puyallup double-gold medalist Megan Quann will compete in the U.S. Open in Federal Way tomorrow through Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center.
Joining Quann are gold medalists Lenny Krayzelburg, Tom Malchow, Brooke Bennett and Misty Hyman. The Americans will face more than national competition, though, as the event also features Olympic champion Yana Klochkova from Ukraine, Japanese Olympians Sachiko Yamada and Masami Tanaka and Jamaican Olympian Janelle Atkinson.
Quann will compete tomorrow in the 100-meter breaststroke, her gold-medal event in Sydney (she also won gold on the 400-meter relay team) and her event on the national team. She won the event at the summer nationals in August in College Park, Md. Tara Kirk, of Bremerton, who will also compete in the U.S. Open, was third at nationals.
Krayzelburg, 27, was a triple gold medalist in Sydney, and is considered the best backstroker in the world. Born in the Ukraine, he moved to the United States in 1989 and became a U.S. citizen in 1995. He holds the world records for the 100- and 200-meter backstroke.
He has been training in Irvine, Calif., for the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he hopes to contend for gold again.
"I have become a student of the sport," he said yesterday. "My training now is at race pace. You want to train at the speed you want to race in, to find certain comfort levels."
This will be his first meet since shoulder surgery five months ago, and it has been about eight months since he raced.
"The Open will be great to just be racing again, and to see where I am," he said.
Asked if he had thought of retiring from the sport, Krayzelburg admitted it had "crossed my mind."
"But deep in my heart, I believe if I'm healthy, if I can be as healthy as before, there is no question that I could win a gold medal next year at the Olympics. Why retire if you think you can still win a gold medal? There's no reason to walk away from that."
Preliminaries begin at 9 a.m. all three days, with finals at 6 p.m. each day. Tickets are $25 for all sessions, and a one-day pass is $10. For individual sessions, prelims are $5 and finals are $7. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Also competing will be U.S. Olympians Maddy Crippen, Kristy Kowal, Diana Munz, Courtney Shealy, Scott Goldblatt, Klete Keller, Jason Lezak, Chris Thompson, Scott Tucker and Tom Wilkens. Joining them will be national-team members Maggie Bowen, Caroline Bruce, Maritza Correia, Alyssa Kiel, Dana Vollmer, Bryce Hunt and Peter Vanderkaay.
Tomorrow's competition will include the 200 individual medley, 400 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 backstroke, 50 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay.
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