Hoff finishes 7th in 200-meter IM


ATHENS - Katie Hoff did better, not that it was good enough to satisfy her.

Hoff, 15, of Abingdon, finished seventh in the 200-meter individual medley last night at the Olympic Aquatic Centre after failing to qualify for the final Saturday in the 400 IM. She was even in second place through the first half of the race behind eventual winner Yana Klochkova of Ukraine.

"I was real happy to make the final," Hoff said. "I'm not going to lie. I'm a little disappointed with my race. I wanted to be closer to my best time."

Hoff finished in 2 minutes, 13.97 seconds, far off the 2:12.06 she swam at the U.S. trials last month. That would have been good enough for a bronze medal last night.

Klochkova, who completed the 400-200 IM double for the second consecutive Olympics, won in 2:11.14. Amanda Beard of the United States finished second in an American-record time of 2:11.70. Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry was third in 2:12.72.

Paul Yetter, Hoff's coach with North Baltimore Aquatic Club, said the pressure of swimming her first international competition at the Olympics was difficult to overcome.

But Hoff said that was OK.

"People said, 'Wow, this is your first international team. You didn't go the Pan [American Games] or the Pan [Pacifics].' I just shot up and went from being at the nationals to the Olympics. I wouldn't want it any other way. The Olympics is the best meet in the world, and I didn't want to miss it."

Asked if her experience here would be motivation for 2008 in Beijing, she said, "Definitely. ... I'll be mad."

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