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U.S. SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS : Quance Finishes 3rd After 6-Week Rest


PASADENA — Taking six weeks off to rest an injured shoulder did more than restore the health of Kristine Quance. It improved her outlook as well.

Since the former Granada Hills High standout took the time off following the NCAA championships last spring, she's been encouraged by her steadily dropping times.

So even when she couldn't catch Annemieke McReynolds in the 200-meter breaststroke final at the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships Tuesday night, her disappointment was tempered.

Quance, who will be a junior at USC, finished third behind McReynolds and Amanda Beard. But her time of 2 minutes 30.24 seconds was more than a second faster than her preliminary time of 2:31.69.

"I'm trying not to worry about what other people are doing," Quance said. "It seems like each time I go out this summer, the times are dropping."

Quance, 20, had been hampered by the injury since the 1994 World Championships, bothering her throughout her sophomore season.

Now she's trying to regain the form that earned her seven national titles since 1992. Still, she is nearly three seconds behind her career-best time of 2:27.55 in the 200.

But Quance has chances in the 200 and 400 individual medleys and the 100 breaststroke over the next three days.

A first-place finish in any of those events would guarantee a spot in the Pan Pacific Championships, held next week in Atlanta at the same pool where the swimming will be held in the 1996 Olympics.

"The shoulder feels really good," she said. "I would like a chance to go and test myself against the Australians."

Jason Stelle of Westlake Village qualified for the Olympic Trials with a 2:03.07 in the 200 backstroke preliminaries.

Stelle, a former Agoura High standout who recently graduated from USC, finished fifth in the consolation final.

Although Chris Pelant of Buenaventura swam in the first of eight heats in the 200 butterfly, his time of 2:03.32 was just .12 seconds away from a spot in the consolation final and .13 from qualifying for the Trials.

Jennifer Parmenter, 14, of Granada Hills, who won the 200 and 400 individual medleys in the spring, finished 18th in the 200 backstroke.

The quality and depth of the field meant several swimmers found themselves overwhelmed.

In the 200 backstroke preliminaries, Buenaventura's Nicole Beck started strongly in the opening lap, but faded in the final 100 meters.

Beck, 15, finished 49th in 2:21.31, nearly five seconds slower than her sixth-place finish in the spring. Teammate Erin Schatz, 17, of Agoura Hills placed 39th in 2:20.65.

In the meet's opening event, the 800 freestyle Monday, Buenaventura's Rebecca Gilman (8:46.49) cut almost three seconds off her best time, but finished 13th, seven spots below her spring finish.

Camarillo's Sarah Nichols, representing Conejo-Simi, finished 33rd in the 800 freestyle in 8:53.00. In the 1994 Summer Nationals, Nichols placed seventh.


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