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SWIMMING / U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS : Evans Wins Record 40th National Title

From Associated Press

World record-holder Janet Evans won the women’s 400-meter race in the National Swimming Championships for a record 11th time Tuesday, giving the Olympic gold medalist her 40th national title.

Evans finished in 4 minutes 8.78 seconds, fastest in the world in the event this year, to maintain her domination of the race dating back to the 1986 Goodwill Games. Evans, a USC and El Dorado High graduate, has held the world record of 4:03.85 since 1988. She has finished first in the 400 freestyle 24 times in 25 starts at the national or major international level.

Cristina Teuscher, 16, who will be a junior at New Rochelle High School in New York this fall, finished second to Evans in 4:11.20 as she qualified for her fourth event in next month’s World Championships at Rome. Brooke Bennett, a 14-year-old from Tampa, Fla., finished third at 4:13.78.

“I heard so much about this race that I was going to have, so I think I focused too much on the race,” said Evans, who was second after 50 meters and then took the lead for good while completing the first quarter of the race in 1:00.23. She was more than a second ahead of Teuscher at the midway point and was never challenged.

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Evans tied the record for national titles in one event set in the 200 butterfly last spring by Mel Stewart.

“This is my 17th nationals,” said Evans, 22, who won three gold medals in the 1988 Olympics and earned a gold and silver in the 1992 Olympics.

Evans thought her days as a swimmer were over after the competition in Barcelona, but now she’s thinking about remaining through the 1996 Olympics.

“The only reason I’m swimming now is I take it all with a grain of salt,” Evans said. “I’m going to wait and see how I swim this year. . . . I’d love to swim in Atlanta.”

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