Spann pulls off shocker at Trials
OMAHA, Neb. - In what might turn out to be the biggest upset of the meet, Scott Spann won the men's 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:09.97 Thursday at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Swimming, defeating American record-holder and Longhorn Aquatics teammate Brendan Hansen in the process.
Along with Spann, nine other people were named to the U.S. Olympic Team in front of 13,011 fans at the Qwest Center Omaha on Day 5, including a number of women who finished second in their events earlier in the week.
Hansen was out in front of the pack for the first 100 meters of the race in the men's 200m breaststroke, with Longhorn Aquatics teammate Spann and Eric Shanteau shadowing him closely in the lanes on either side. Shanteau drew within seven-hundredths of a second to Hansen on the third turn, and as the three swimmers raced home, Spann pulled ahead in the final 25 meters or so.
As they hit the wall, it was Spann first, followed by Shanteau in 2:10.36. Hansen faded to fourth in 2:11.37, behind fellow 2004 Olympic qualifier Scott Usher of Boilermaker Aquatics (2:11.00).
"In the last 15 meters, I got so tired," Spann said. "All I could think in my head was, ‘This is coming on four years, and this is my last stroke.'
"I don't have a lot of medals in my career, but if I'm going to have one, I'm glad this is it. The next step, I can't even process. I made the team, and gosh, it's unbelievable."
Hansen had gone undefeated at the National level in this event since he set the world record at the last Olympic Trials in 2004. His American record of 2:08.50, set in 2006, is more than a second faster than Spann's performance Thursday, which marks Spann as the second-fastest American of all time.
Hansen will still be making the trip to Beijing, however, after qualifying in the men's 100m breaststroke earlier in the week.
"I don't know what happened," Hansen said. "I came in and didn't have a really good feeling in warm-up and everything in general. These guys just brought it tonight. I train with them every day, and maybe I trained them a little too well.
"It's going to be hard, but for me, I'm going to show these guys how to do it. If I can't be in it, I'm going to be sure that they are. I really want to be a leader on this team and set an example."