Brendan Hansen upstaged Michael Phelps in the pool at the US Summer Nationals, lowering his own world record in the 100-meter breaststroke on opening night Tuesday.
Phelps easily won his first showdown of the week with Ryan Lochte in the 400 individual medley, but he wasn't pleased after falling off his own world-record pace.
"That was a pretty disappointing swim," he said. "I'm not happy at all how the meet started. I feel like I should have been faster."
Hansen, the silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, cruised to the wall in 59.13 seconds. He tore off his cap, grinned and waved his right forefinger in a No. 1 sign to his parents in the stands.
"Just give me a lane and give me a chance," he said. "I keep trying to raise the bar on myself."
Actually, he lowered it.
Hansen eclipsed the mark of 59.30 that he set at the 2004 US Olympic trials in Long Beach. Hansen was the only swimmer under 1 minute in the final.
His only real competition is internationally, because no other Americans have come close to challenging Hansen.
"It gives me more of a chance to break world records instead of worrying about beating someone," he said.
Scott Usher was second in 1:01.07, and Matthew Lowe was third in 1:01.12.
The top three finishers earned spots on the US team for the Pan Pacific Championships later this month in Victoria, British Columbia.
"I'm 100 percent healthy right now," Hansen said. "In 2004, I had a hip problem and wasn't 100 percent going into world championships last year."
Phelps, the world-record holder in the 400 IM, won his 28th national title, tying him with Adolph Keifer for sixth on the career list.
He led the entire way, but fell off world-record pace after 250 meters. Lochte made a big move on Phelps during the breaststroke portion, but couldn't close the gap.
"I didn't know how much Ryan had left in the tank, and I was going to make it hurt as much as I could to try to get my hand on the wall first," Phelps said. "The last 200 was real bad. It by no means is where I want to be right now."
Phelps won the first of his six scheduled races this week in 4:10.16. Lochte was second in 4:11.53 and Erik Vendt third. "It was a pretty good time for me," Lochte said. "I thought I got closer than usual."
The night's other record belonged to 17-year-old Katie Hoff. She lowered her own American record in the 200 individual medley, missing the world mark by three-tenths of a second.
Hoff was under world-record pace through 150 meters before falling off during the final freestyle lap. Wu Yanyan of China set the world record in 1997, and was suspended for doping a few years later.
Erasing the tainted record is "my one and only goal," Hoff said.
Hoff, from the same North Baltimore club that launched Phelps, won in 2:10.05 - .36 seconds better than her old mark set last year. Whitney Myers was second in 2:12.06 and two-time Olympian Kaitlin Sandeno third.
Hoff returned about 30 minutes later for a tight race with 18-year-old Kate Ziegler in the 400 freestyle. The two teenagers dogged each other the whole way, with Ziegler edging Hoff at the wall by eight-hundredths of a second.
"We definitely brought out the best in each other," Hoff said. Ziegler won in 4:05.75 and Hoff touched in 4:05.83. Hayley Peirsol was third in her hometown pool.
"Having her (Hoff) the last 50 to race definitely pushed me to my best time," Ziegler said.
Natalie Coughlin, who won five medals at the Athens Games, edged Rachel Komisarz by one-hundredth of a second to win the 100 butterfly.
Coughlin overcame a slow start and touched in 57.78 seconds; Komisarz in 57.79. Mary Descenza was third.
"This is really exciting for me," said Coughlin, who has competed in the fly about four times in the last three years. "After Athens, it's hard to be motivated. I was kind of lazy last year, which I needed to be. This year, I've been working my butt off."
Two-time Olympian Klete Keller won the 400 freestyle in 3:44.27, barely missing his own American record of 3:44.11 set at the Athens Olympics, where he won a bronze medal.
"Tired," Keller said. "I was curious to see where I ended up. I wasn't overly excited. Hopefully in coming years it'll keep getting faster."
Peter Vanderkaay, Keller's training partner at the University of Michigan, was second and Larsen Jensen third.