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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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June 30, 2008 6:38 PM

Swim Trials: Hoelzer lays down smoking time; Kirk/Jendrick rematch looms

Posted by Ron Judd

Margaret Hoelzer, of King Aquatics by way of Huntsville, Ala., laid down a smoking time in the 100 backstroke semis today. Matching event goddess -- and world-record holder -- Natalie Coughlin stroke for stroke, Hoelzer posted a 59.73, just .05 off of Coughlin's pace. Both will race in tomorrow night's final against Hayley McGregory, who briefly snatched Coughlin's world record in the race this morning with a 59.15, before Coughlin emerged in the very next heat and set a new one, at 59.03.

In the 100 breast, a rematch tomorrow night between childhood swimming partners and current rivals Megan Quann Jendrick, of Tacoma, and Tara Kirk, of Bremerton, is shaping up. Jendrick dominated her semifinal heat and enters the final with a top time of 1:07.06. Kirk's best time entering the final is 1:07.19.
See our story here.

Jendrick, the two-time gold medalist at Sydney in 2000, was bumped from the Athens Olympic squad by Kirk, who edged her by eleven-hundredths of a second at the 2004 Olympic Trials in Long Beach. It's been a long road back for Jendrick, and if she makes the team, it's a great story.

Alas, the odds that both local swimmers will make the Athens make squad in this event (they'll also both swim the 200 meters) are not great. Only the top two finishers go, and the competition will be fierce. Leading the pack into the finals are American record holder Jessica Hardy, who quietly qualified at 1:08.17 (but swam 1:06.85 in an earlier heat) and Rebecca Soni, who swam 1:06.87. Kirk, Soni and Jendrick will swim in lanes 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Finals coverage that includes this race begins at 5 p.m. PT on USA Network.

Nothing was going right, meanwhile, for Tara's younger sister, Dana, who announced her retirement after a disappointing showing in the 100 fly. In Athens four years ago, Dana and Tara were the first sisters to swim in an Olympics for the U.S.

The complete swimming schedule from Omaha can be found here.

And live results and start sheets are found here.

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Blogroll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.