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OLYMPIC REPORT / 34 DAYS TO THE GAMES

Maybe USC backstroker Brad Bridgewater is on to something with a quirky recipe for success--lose eight pounds and gain a meet record.

Of course he didn’t plan it that way. Bridgewater ate something bad earlier in the week, lost weight but recovered enough to win the 200-meter backstroke at the Swim Meet of Champions in Mission Viejo on Friday.

His time of 2 minutes, 1.36 seconds established a meet record, surpassing the previous standard of 2:01.77. Bridgewater had a spirited race with Trojan Swim Club teammate Lenny Krayzelburg, who was second in 2:01.71.

“It was faster than I expected to go,” said Bridgewater, who will compete in the 200 backstroke at the Olympics. “It was a good race with Lenny.”

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Bridgewater, 23, won the event at the Olympic Trials in 1:59.16 and surprised many observers with his performance. “I like not being the favorite,” he said. “I read all the picks for the team and I was not on anybody’s list. That was fine.”

There was one other meet record and that came in women’s 200 backstroke as 16-year-old Tomoko Hagiwara of Japan finished in 2:14.15, eclipsing the old mark of 2:15.32. Arizona teenager Misty Hyman was second in 2:17.99. Hyman, 17, has continued to perform well after the shattering disappointment of missing the Olympics by three-hundredths of a second in the 100 butterfly.

Friday, she won the 200 butterfly in 2:11.81, edging Olympian Annette Salmeen of UCLA, who finished second in 2:12.51. “It’s definitely bittersweet,” Hyman said. “I’m definitely going to watch [the Olympics]. But it’ll be tough. There’s not a day that goes by without thinking about it.”

Other winners on the second day of the meet included Janet Evans in the 400 freestyle (4:17.18), Sergey Mariniuk in the 400 freestyle (3:58.96), 15-year-old Jennifer Parmenter in the 100 freestyle (58.63), Francisco Sanchez in the 100 freestyle (51.59) and Dominik Galic in the 200 butterfly (2:01.71).

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