INDIANAPOLIS — Jessica Foschi finished fourth in the 800-meter freestyle at the Olympic trials on Monday night, when she needed to finish first or second to make the U.S. team for the Atlanta Games. Brooke Bennett won the event, Janet Evans was second and a lot of swimming officials were relieved.
"Yep," said former Olympian Bill Stapleton, who served on the first U.S. Swimming appeals panel that accepted Foschi's story that she never took steroids knowingly, despite a positive test at last summer's national championships. "This simplifies things for U.S. Swimming."
Foschi, the 15-year-old high school sophomore from Old Brookville, N.Y., had come into the trials among the nation's best five or six distance freestylers, but her times never really threatened Bennett or Evans. Monday night's race went according to form as Florida native Bennett, also 15, fulfilled the reputation she built over the past two years as a worthy protege of Evans, who is heading to her third Olympic Games at 24.
Bennett immediately went to the lead and churned to the victory in 8:31.41. Evans, whose 7-year-old world record (8:16.22) still stands, settled into third behind Bennett and 19-year-old Floridian Trina Jackson for 300 meters, then took over second and easily held on for her Olympic berth in 8:33.60.