OMAHA, Neb. — In the end, Megan Romano simply wasn't strong enough.
Romano, a 17-year-old swimmer from St. Petersburg, started fast in her heat in the women's 200-meter freestyle Tuesday morning at the U.S. Olympic trials but faded as it went on. She finished sixth in 2 minutes, 1.91 seconds, almost a second slower than her fastest time.
"It was hard," Romano said. "It was harder than I thought it was going to be. I just didn't have the endurance."
Romano was diagnosed with mononucleosis three weeks ago, and she suspects she had been infected three weeks earlier. As a result, some of her pre-trials training was eliminated, and other parts were reduced.
"I guess that training is a big part of everything," she said. "That hurt me."
Just before she was diagnosed with mono, Romano set her personal best in the event, 2:00.98. As it turns out, all 16 women who advanced to the semifinals swam in under two minutes. One of them was Chelsea Nauta, a former Tampa Prep star now at Georgia. She qualified ninth in 1:59.73. In the semis, she was last in the field, with a time three seconds behind top qualifier Katie Hoff, who did 1:57.10.
For a while, it appeared Romano was going to be in the semis. She was in first place at the first turn of her heat and second at the second. But she slipped to third at the third turn before finishing sixth. Overall, she was 46th out of a field of 103.
Romano said she will continue to swim in her events at the trials, although she and coach Fred Lewis have discussed dropping out of the 200 backstroke.