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London Olympics 2012

Katie Hoff

Katie HoffKatie HoffKatie HoffKatie HoffKatie Hoff

Katie Hoff, born June 3, 1989 in Palo Alto, California is an American swimmer. Hoff is strongest in the 200 and 400 meter individual medleys, though she is a very capable swimmer in many events, ranging from the four 200 meter events to the 800 meter freestyle. She competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2008 Summer Olympics, in which she captured a silver and two bronze medals. Hoff qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics at the age of 15; she failed to medal in both of the events in which she competed. At the 2005 World Aquatics Championships, Hoff set a championships record for her time of 2:10.41 in the women's 200 meter individual medley. Hoff received two more gold medals at the competition, one in the 400 meter medley and the other for the 4x200 meter freestyle, with teammates Natalie Coughlin, Whitney Myers, and Kaitlin Sandeno. Hoff retained her 200 meter individual medley title by winning at the 2007 World Championships setting a new championship record of 2:10.13. Hoff's previous experience helped her use her veteran status to help the most experienced member of the US team, Natalie Coughlin, prepare for their world-record-setting pace in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay.

Heading into the 2008 Olympics, Hoff was considered a strong contender. Hoff held the American record in the 200 meter individual medley at 2:09.71 and set the world record in the 400 meter individual medley with a time of 4:31.12 set at the 2008 U.S. swim trials. This time was subsequently bettered by Stephanie Rice in the Olympic finals with a time of 4:29.45. Hoff’s performances in Beijing produced a decidedly mixed record. NBC commentator and former-Olympian Rowdy Gaines described her results as disappointing, including finishing second to Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington in the 400 meter Freestyle, yet noted that her three medals at one Olympics is a significant achievement and cited the depth of the field in each of her events. Prior to the Olympic Games, Hoff was saddled by the media with the label of being the female Michael Phelps due to the challenging slate of races in which she was competing. Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach, thought the comparison was unfair.

The comparisons to Michael Phelps are inevitable — like Mike, Hoff has a habit of setting world records; she trains at the same club in Baltimore where Phelps perfected his technique, and, also like Phelps, the versatile stroker will swim in five individual events in Beijing. But the teen doesn't mind the constant juxtaposition. The two fish out of water are like siblings, keeping in touch regularly via text. At her Olympic debut in 2004, Hoff was so nervous and overwhelmed that she felt ill after her first race under the rings. Not this time.

"I definitely have more confidence, and I know what to expect," she says. "The last time, I only had three months to prepare, and this time, I had four years."

Hoff set the American record in the 200 freestyle, yet finished fourth in the event; 70 minutes later in the finals of the 200 meter IM Hoff again finished fourth, well behind her time at the U.S. swim trials. These results led to questions as to whether Hoff’s program in Beijing was too aggressive. It was also suggested that Hoff's narrow miss of a gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle created a confidence issue that affected her later races. Following her consecutive fourth place finishes, Hoff's coach, Paul Yetter, held that she was having a good meet and denied she had peaked too early. Yetter also predicted that Hoff could have an awesome 800 meter freestyle race to conclude her second Olympic games.

However, Hoff dramatically faded over the second half of her preliminary race, finishing in 8:27.78, 8.08 seconds off her personal best time, and failed to advance. After taking some time off after the 2008 Olympics Hoff did not qualify for the 2009 World Aquatics Championships after an 8th place finish in the 200 meter freestyle and a 6th place finish in the 400 meter freestyle at the US National Championships. Hoff subsequently withdrew from the 100 meter freestyle and 800 meter freestyle races, ending her chances of making the team. At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, Hoff won a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with Missy Franklin, Dagny Knutson, and Allison Schmitt, with the team finishing ahead of Australia and China. As the third leg, Hoff had a 1:57.41 split.

Hoff was born in Palo Alto, California and lived for a number of years in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she swam as a youngster with the Williamsburg Aquatic Club, coached by Harold Baker. She also swam summer neighborhood meets with the Windsor Forest Frogs, where several of her team records, circa 2000 and 2001 still stand. She moved with her family to Towson, Maryland in 2003, in part so she could practice with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, also the home team of Michael Phelps. In 2008, she purchased a condominium in the Mount Washington suburb of Baltimore.

Follow Katie at: www.twitter.com

source: www.wikipedia.org


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