This time the North Baltimore Aquatic Club girls will have to do it without Olympian Anita Nall.
NBAC, led by Whitney Phelps, Beth Botsford, Kelly McPherson, Whitney Metzler, Melinda Rehm and Brittany White, will attempt to win the women's title for the second straight year in the Phillips 66 U.S. Swimming Championships that begin a five-day run today in Minneapolis.
With Nall as the seventh member last year and its swimmers ranging in age from 12 to 17, NBAC became the first Baltimore-area team to win a national title. They were the darlings of the championships, and Botsford, at 12 the youngest in the field, was named Rookie of the Meet.
"We'll be in contention and we have aspirations of winning again, even without Anita," NBAC coach Murray Stephens said.
Nall, a triple medalist in the 1992 Olympics who had a second and a fourth in the breaststrokes last year, returned soon after the nationals to her native Harrisburg, Pa., after five years here.
Among the current group, all except Rehm have finished in the top eight in a senior national meet. In the 1994 world rankings, all are listed in the top 25 in at least one event, and Botsford and Phelps appear in the top three.
NBAC's chances of repeating are bright, since few if any top college swimmers will be in the field. The women's NCAA Division I championships are this week, too, with the men's championships to follow next week.
The UMBC-based Retriever Aquatic Club, coached by Sid Burkot, is sending David Miller, Mike Gibeau, Chad Cradock and Ingrid Kilpe. The Retrievers tied for 35th last year. The Greater Baltimore Swim Association will be represented by Brooke Donoho and the Monocacy Aquatic Club of Frederick by Beau Wiebel.