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Swimmers Keep the U.S. Team Afloat

August 14, 2003|From Associated Press

Pan American Games gold eluded the United States in two team sports Wednesday night, with a trip to the Olympics also slipping away in field hockey.

In most cases, a field hockey silver medal at an international competition brings huge satisfaction to Americans. Not this time, as a 3-1 loss to powerful Argentina in the final meant the United States must find another route to the Athens Olympics.

The volleyball team lost to Cuba in the men's semifinals, a five-set thriller in which the Cubans rallied for victory as the Americans tired.

But the swimmers kept right on filling the medals podium. The women's 400-meter freestyle relay team set a Games record of 3 minutes 41.93 seconds, a nearly five-second edge over runner-up Canada.

In a 1-2 finish, Elizabeth Hill of Atlanta set a games record of 4:10.18 in the 400-meter freestyle, with Morgan Hentzen of La Habra Heights, taking second. Then Diana MacManus of Irvine won the 100 backstroke, just ahead of Shealy.

Argentina's Jose Meolans won the men's 100 freestyle, and Brazil's Rogerio Romero edged Luke Wagner of Englewood, Colo., and Joey Faltraco, Union Mills, N.C., in the 200 backstroke.

On a busy day for U.S. teams, the women's softball world champions gave up their first run of the tournament, but beat the Dominican Republic, 2-1. Crystl Bustos reached third on an error in center field when her towering fly ball was dropped. Stavey Nuveman singled her home in the seventh inning.

Jennie Finch struck out 15 for the Americans.

U.S. gold also went to Tim Thackrey of Tarzana, who defeated Oscar Salazar of Mexico, 2-1, in the flyweight taekwondo division.

The women hockey players got the first shot at a big win. But Agustina Garcia scored two goals and Argentina earned the berth in the 2004 Olympics. The Americans must now try to qualify in a tournament in New Zealand in March.

"They came out flat and we could have jumped on them in the first 15 minutes," goalie Peggy Storrar said. "But we had some nerves. That was our opportunity, but we didn't do it."

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