Another race, another record for Deena Drossin, the beacon of hope for U.S. women's distance running.
Drossin, who grew up in Agoura Hills and lives in Mammoth Lakes, became the first U.S. woman to break 31 minutes in the 10,000-meter run when she was clocked in 30 minutes, 50.32 seconds at The Cardinal Invitational at Stanford on May 3. She demolished the previous U.S. record of 31:19.89, set by Lynn Jennings in a bronze-medal performance at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Add that to the U.S. 15K road record Drossin set in March, her silver medal at the world cross-country championships in Ireland that month and the world 5K road record she set at Carlsbad in April, and it has already been an impressive year.
And she's merely getting started.
"It has been a surprise, because I haven't really changed much in terms of training," said Drossin, who won the U.S. women's marathon championship last year in New York, with a fastest U.S.-debut time of 2 hours 26 minutes 58 seconds. "The only difference is I'm doing plyometrics and a weight routine. I think they've helped with my form and my economy of motion."
Drossin was going for a U.S. record May 3, but she didn't expect to break it so dramatically. Yoko Shibui of Japan set a Japanese record and a U.S. all-comers record by winning the race in 30 minutes 48.89 seconds.
"Conditions were just perfect that night," said Drossin, a member of the Team USA California distance running program. "The last three laps, it got really hard, but I was so excited about where I was in the race, it boosted my adrenaline. And [Shibui] took the pressure off."
Drossin will next run at the Bolder Boulder International Team Challenge on May 27 in Colorado. She will team with Jen Rhines, who set a personal best time of 31:41.16 in finishing third to Drossin at the Cardinal Invitational, and Colleen De Reuck, who set a U.S. women's 12K road record of 38:53 last week in Spokane, Wash. The previous 12K road record, 39:14, was set by Jennings in the 1993 Bay to Breakers race. Drossin and Rhines are also scheduled to compete in the Chicago Marathon Oct. 13.
Before that, though, Drossin plans to compete in the 5K at the U.S. championships in June at Palo Alto and also run in Europe. She said she has no other records in her sights, but nothing seems impossible given the way she has been running.
"I want to bring my 5K time down," she said. "I've run under 14:51 and I want to go under 14:50. At Chicago, I'd like to run fast, but I haven't really set a time goal."
UCLA alumnus Meb Keflezighi also had a noteworthy night at the Cardinal Invitational, recording the second-fastest 10K time by a U.S. athlete, 27:20.15. The only faster time was the 27:13.98 he ran at Stanford a year ago.
Keflezighi will run the 5K at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., on May 26.
In the Swim
Backstroker Lenny Krayzelburg, slowed late last year by shoulder surgery and this year by a lung infection, said he's looking forward to the "Duel in the Pool," the U.S.-Australia swim meet to be held next April in Indianapolis. But the Sydney triple-gold medalist, a USC alumnus, is looking even beyond that to the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials in Long Beach.
"There are two things I believe will make [the trials] really exciting," said Krayzelburg, who emigrated from Ukraine with his family as a youngster. "The first is it's in California, and there's tremendous interest in swimming here. There should be a huge turnout. Second is the unique format of the trials. They're going to use two portable pools right near the beach, right where the Grand Prix [auto race] is."
Krayzelburg, 26, plans to compete in the trials and 2004 Athens Games, shoulder willing.
"The main thing is to stay healthy," he said, "and if I stay healthy, I think I have as good a shot as 2000."
U.S. gymnasts won the men's, women's and rhythmic team competitions at the Senior Pacific Alliance Championships at Vancouver, Canada, May 3-5.
Among the men, Paul Hamm and Brett McClure finished 1-2 in the all-around, and Hamm also won the vault and high bar. The U.S. men had 164.575 points, well ahead of Japan (159.225) and Australia (157.825). The U.S. junior men's team also won its competition.
Tasha Schwikert, Terin Humphrey and Kristal Uzelac won the top three places in the women's all-around and helped the U.S. women win the team competition with 111.223 points. Australia was second at 107.099 and Japan was third with 104.723. Schwikert also won gold on balance beam and silver on the uneven bars and floor exercise.
The U.S. junior men's and women's teams also won team titles.
No Artistic Scores Here
Having left Olympic-eligible skating for the pro ranks, pair skater David Pelletier registered to play forward in a recreational hockey league in Edmonton, where he and partner Jamie Sale train.
Pelletier doesn't miss the regimented world of elite figure skating.