Saturday marked the end of the road to London for Katie Hoff, the former Towson-based swimmer who failed to match her dominating performance in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials.
After failing to qualify in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle races earlier in the week, she entered the 800-free knowing she likely would not advance, which she didn't.
"I'm proud of myself for doing it," said Hoff, who said her coach Paul Yetter left it up to her whether to swim the event. "Obviously I wanted to be better."
Hoff, who previously swam at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, is back training with Yetter, one of her early coaches at NBAC who now is based in Naples, Fla.
Hoff finished 13th in the preliminaries, too low to qualify for the Sunday evening finals.
"Someone told me that my career is not about rolling over in adversity. I don't want to be that girl," Hoff said. "So I gave it my best shot, and that's all I can do."
The 800-free was also Janet Evans' final swim. The great distance swimmer, 40, came in 53rd in the morning preliminary and promptly signed her retirement papers. Still, the mother of two children seemed to possess the same chipper personality that made her the sweetheart of the Seoul Games. She was pleased with the journey regardless of its ending.
"I don't think it ever leaves your soul," she said. "For me, it's part of who I am."
Comebacks aplenty at Olympic trials
Saturday was a day of comebacks in swimming, successful and otherwise.
Anthony Ervin, 31, who walked away after winning gold and silver in the 2000 Olympics, smoked through the morning preliminaries and evening semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle, winning both to enter Sunday's finals as the top seed. After swimming a 21.83-second prelim, he shaved .09 of a second off in the semifinal.
"That was the best time. This is what it's always about, swimming, right? Chasing that best time," Ervin said.
Ervin, who famously auctioned his gold medal for tsunami relief and joined a rock band during his hiatus from swimming, didn't even know he won the morning preliminary until he was told by fellow Cal-Berkeley swimmer Nathan Adrian, who was swimming in the next lane and came in second in the prelim and in the semifinal.
"Tony needs to start wearing his contacts," Adrian said. "I thought it was funny, I was like, 21-8, dude.
"'Huh? What? You did?'" Adrian said Ervin asked. "I was like, no, dude, you're an idiot. It was you. It's always fun swimming next to him. I knew I'd have to tell him his time and what his place is."
Other notable performances
John Hauser of the University of Maryland failed to advance in the 50-meter freestyle. ... NBAC's Gillian Ryan finished third in the 800-meter freestyle to advance to Sunday's final. Her teammate Camryne Morris finished 28th. ... NBAC's Patrick Murphy didn't move beyond the preliminaries of the 100-fly. ... NBAC's Lauren James didn't advance in the 200-meter backstroke. ... NBAC's Annie Zhu was an alternate for the women's 200-meter breaststroke but didn't get the call to swim ... Former NBAC swimmer Elizabeth Pelton came in second after the morning preliminaries, advancing to Saturday night's 200-back semifinal heats. She won her heat, and placed third overall, behind Missy Franklin and Elilzabeth Beisel going into Sunday's final. ... Going to London in the 200-meter breaststroke are Rebecca Soni and Micah Lawrence.