Hansen Upstages Phelps With World Record

By BETH HARRIS
The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 1, 2006; 10:52 PM

IRVINE, Calif. -- Brendan Hansen upstaged Michael Phelps in the pool at the U.S. Summer Nationals, lowering his own world record in the 100-meter breaststroke on opening night Tuesday.

Phelps easily won his first showdown of the week with Ryan Lochte in the 400 individual medley, but he wasn't pleased after falling off his own world-record pace.

"That was a pretty disappointing swim," he said. "I'm not happy at all how the meet started. I feel like I should have been faster."

Hansen, the silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, cruised to the wall in 59.13 seconds. He tore off his cap, grinned and waved his right forefinger in a No. 1 sign to his parents in the stands.

"Just give me a lane and give me a chance," he said. "I keep trying to raise the bar on myself."

Actually, he lowered it.

Hansen eclipsed the mark of 59.30 that he set at the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials in Long Beach. Hansen was the only swimmer under 1 minute in the final.

His only real competition is internationally, because no other Americans have come close to challenging Hansen.

"It gives me more of a chance to break world records instead of worrying about beating someone," he said.

Scott Usher was second in 1:01.07, and Matthew Lowe was third in 1:01.12.

The top three finishers earned spots on the U.S. team for the Pan Pacific Championships later this month in Victoria, British Columbia.

"I'm 100 percent healthy right now," Hansen said. "In 2004, I had a hip problem and wasn't 100 percent going into world championships last year."


CONTINUED     1           >

© 2006 The Associated Press