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SWIM NOTES

Quann Looks Toward Athens

July 07, 2004|Kelsie Smith | Times Staff Writer

Megan Quann started her junior year of high school a little late.

The month-long delay seemed excusable enough. The 16-year-old was too busy winning two gold medals in Sydney in 2000, one in the 100-meter breaststroke, the other in the 400 medley relay.

After the Olympics, Quann's parents wanted their daughter to have a normal life. The police escort that accompanied Quann to her first day at Emerald Ridge High in Puyallup, Wash., wasn't a good first step toward finding that normalcy.

Although she said the escort wasn't necessary, Quann, who didn't yet have her driver's license, didn't mind the slightly high-profile ride to school.

After speaking at a news conference, signing a few autographs for classmates clutching copies of a Sports Illustrated featuring Quann on the cover and enduring a couple weeks of students keeping their distance, Quann said people began to realize she didn't have "superhuman powers."

And the normal life her parents wanted for her began to take shape.

On Thursday, Quann will start her second U.S. Olympic trials, swimming the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke.

The four years since she drew attention as the youngest member of the U.S. team have produced a more mature, more prepared, more aware swimmer.

Going into the 2000 trials, Quann said she had watched the Olympics only once and had never attended the trials.

She remembered seeing Amanda Beard, then 14, swim for the U.S. in 1996 and deciding she could do the same.

"I went to my coach and said, 'I'm going to be on the Olympic team in 2000,' " Quann said.

That confidence has remained. On her chances at a second Olympics, she said, "I know I will be on the team."

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NBC will air the trials live from 5 to 6 p.m. PDT on Friday and Sunday.

A taped broadcast will air from 10 a.m. to noon PDT on July 18.

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Tickets are available for all events in the week-long trials.

But Beth White of the Long Beach Aquatics Festival said that more than 80% of the seats have been sold.

She said single-session tickets for any day are available but the weekend sessions are nearly sold out.

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