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SWIM OF LIFE GETS GIRL OLYMPIC BERTH

Meagan Kleine went from high school swimmer to U.S. Olympian in a scant 1 minute, 10.08 seconds.

She earned an Olympic team berth with a surprising runner-up finish to Anita Nall in the women's 100-meter breaststroke."I had the swim of my life and it came at the right time," Kleine said. "I didn't expect to (make the team). I'm overwhelmed."

America's female swimmers are dominating the Olympic trials with more record-breaking performances than their male counterparts.

Janet Evans tries to qualify for her second individual event today in the 800 freestyle, where she owns the world record and was gold medalist in the 1988 Olympics.

Matt Biondi and Tom Jager renew their nine-year rivalry in the 50 freestyle preliminaries, while Melvin Stewart attempts to qualify in the 200 butterfly. He holds the world and American records in the event.

In the women's 100 breaststroke, Nall won in 1:09.29, the second fastest time ever by an American. She was third at the halfway point, then overtook American record holder Tracey McFarlane and Kelli King.

The top two finishers in each event qualify for the Summer Games in Barcelona.

Kleine, a 17-year-old from Lexington, Ky., finished sixth in the Wednesday morning preliminaries. At night, she was fifth after 50 meters in lane 7, where she couldn't see her competition.

When she reached the wall, she turned around to check the scoreboard.

"I've only dreamed of seeing a number one or two beside my name. It hasn't really hit me yet," she said.

Last year, Kleine was ranked 32nd in the world in the 100 breaststroke. And last week she was in Kentucky, competing for Henry Clay High School in the state girls' meet.

Nall's victory qualified her in two individual events. The 15-year-old from Towson, Md., set a world record Monday in the 200 breaststroke.

Crissy Ahmann-Leighton won the women's 100 butterfly in 58.61 seconds, the second fastest time in history.

"When I touched the wall, it almost felt like it didn't happen," Ahmann-Leighton said. "I still don't believe it."

Among the eight finalists, Summer Sanders, Jenny Thompson and Janel Jorgensen also finished in less than a minute.

Mary T. Meagher, who set the world record of 57.93 in 1981, is the only other swimmer to break 59 seconds in the event. Sanders finished in 59.67.

Ahmann-Leighton said the depth among the female swimmers increases the competition, which results in the record-setting performances.

"You can't swim a race without having one, two or three people on your butt," she said. "The women seem to be hungrier."

Few swimmers ever challenged Mike Barrowman in the 200 breaststroke, an event he hadn't lost since finishing fourth at the 1988 Olympics. But Roque Santos pulled off an upset in the closing meters Wednesday to win in 2:13.50, just four-hundredths of a second ahead of world-record holder Barrowman.

"This will burn inside of me a long time," Barrowman said. "I will see this until Barcelona."

He'll also see Santos every day since both swim for the Curl-Burke club in Maryland. Santos' previous best time was 2:15.07, while Barrowman's world record is 2:10.60.

"We've raced every day, 100 million times," Santos said. "To beat Mike any time is a great thing."