Toughest job still ahead for Mt. St. Joe's Hannan

THE BALTIMORE SUN

SYDNEY, Australia - Tommy Hannan had some work to do to get into the Olympic final of the 100-meter butterfly and earn a berth on the United States' 400 medley relay team.

Third in his heat, Hannan was 11th fastest among the 62 men who competed in the preliminaries of the 100 fly.

A 1998 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School, Hannan advanced to tonight's semifinals, which were to be held at 5:05 a.m. Baltimore time, today.

Only the eight fastest will get to swim in tomorrow's final at the International Aquatic Centre.

It was Hannan's first competition since Aug. 14, when the 20-year-old who has delayed the start of his junior year at the University of Texas used a quick start and held on for the runner-up spot at the U.S. trials.

Hannan dawdled in his Olympic prelim, as he was fifth at the 50 wall. He made a move on Australia's Geoff Heugill, but then faded and finished in 53.54 seconds.

Hannan swam faster in all three rounds of the Olympic trials.

"I needed to get back in the pool," Hannan said. "The first race is tough. I've been here for three weeks, and I haven't raced yet.

"It's been tough, watching everyone else swim. It was just a morning swim. I had trouble getting into a groove."

Australians Michael Klim and Geoff Heugill came in as the two fastest men in history, and re-established themselves as the top contenders for the gold medal with the two quickest times in the preliminaries.

Last week, Hannan said that he expected to swim in one of the two rounds of the 400 medley relay, which will conclude what has been a marvelous swim meet Saturday.

The event will come down to Australia and the United States, and the butterfly leg is the weak link for the Americans.

Ian Crocker, the other half of the U.S. entry, was ninth fastest in the preliminaries. There is speculation that head coach Mark Schubert and his staff could fill one of the rounds of the relay with a butterflyer other than Crocker or Hannan.

Crocker, 18, will join Hannan at Texas. Neil Walker, a Texas graduate, holds the American record in the event, and is available.

"I don't know what's happening with the relay," Hannan said. "They won't tell us anything until tomorrow."

Mehdi Addadi, whose roots on the west side of Baltimore aren't quite as deep as Hannan's, was the 44th fastest man in the 100 butterfly. One of two members of Algeria's Olympic swim team, Addadi is an economics major at UMBC.

The fall semester began Aug. 30, and Addadi has monitored 15 credits worth of courses here. He brought textbooks and syllabi for, among others, intermediate microeconomics.

"I have all of my professors' e-mail addresses," Addadi said. "They're all very nice and patient. This has been a unique experience."

Johns Hopkins student Kamal Masud was the last of the 61 finishers in 1:00.06.

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