Zeigler Says Swine Flu Is to Blame for No-Show at Nationals

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, July 7 -- A debilitating bout with the flu caused Great Falls native Kate Ziegler to pull out of the 400-meter freestyle competition on the first day of the swimming national championships Tuesday morning, and might have prematurely ended her hopes of defending her 800 free title at the world championships, which begin later this month.

Ziegler, who developed flu-like symptoms last Friday with a fever that peaked at 103 degrees, was so hobbled she did not attempt to travel here to compete, she said by phone from her parents' home.

Ziegler, 21, ruled out competing in Wednesday's 200 freestyle and said she had only faint hopes of being ready for Friday's heats in the 800, in which she is the reigning world champion and third-fastest woman ever.

"I will leave the option open to go -- at least I might try -- but I also feel I have to be at least somewhat realistic," Ziegler said. "Maybe it wasn't my time this time around."

This event serves as the qualifying event for the July 26-Aug. 2 world championships in Rome. Though Ziegler is the reigning world champion in the 800 and 1,500 free -- which won't be contested in Rome -- she cannot compete for the United States if she doesn't make the team here this week.

She also is the third-fastest American woman ever in the 400.

Ziegler said a number of swimmers for the Fish, the McLean-based club she trains with, had been ill, and that several teammates recently had swine flu diagnosed. She visited her doctor as soon as symptoms emerged Friday, she said, and was told she had "some version of the flu."

"Four boys on my team had swine flu," Ziegler said. "I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up getting it."

Ziegler said she spent the weekend mostly in bed with a fever, chills, sore throat and severe headaches. She coughed repeatedly and spoke in a hoarse voice as she answered questions Tuesday afternoon. She took three days off from practice before attempting to swim a bit Monday. Then, she said, she managed only about 1,000 meters of easy stroking.

"It's never easy," Ziegler said. "I didn't know what to expect at this meet, but I still wanted to go and compete."

Gangloff Sets 100 Breast Mark

In the men's 100 breaststroke, Mark Gangloff, wearing a new Jaked suit, upset Eric Shanteau, wearing an Arena X-Glide, and claimed an American record in the process, topping former world record holder Brendan Hansen's mark of 59.13 seconds. Gangloff touched the wall in 59.01, edging Shanteau, who finished in 59.45 -- the second time he had gone under the one-minute barrier Tuesday.

Gangloff's time approached Kosuke Kitajima's world record of 58.91 and represented a drop of 1.09 seconds from Gangloff's previous personal best.

The new suits seem to have had an inordinate affect in the breaststroke events, which have seen massive time drops around the globe.

"You just feel differently all over," Shanteau said. "The way these suits are, you sit differently in the water."

Madwed Claims Spot at Worlds

In the men's 400 free, former NBAC swimmer Dan Madwed, 20, also claimed a spot at the world championships with his finish in 3 minutes 47.24 seconds. Olympic veteran Peter Vanderkaay, 25, finished first in 3:45.17. . . .

Reigning Olympic silver medal winner Christine Magnuson, 23, came close to her American record in winning the 100 butterfly, finishing in 57.15 wearing the X-Glide. North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Felicia Lee, 17, finished sixth in 58.53. . . .

In the men's 400 individual medley, Ryan Lochte out-touched Tyler Clary at the finish, winning in 4:06.40 to Clary's 4:06.96.

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