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A day for veterans

Germany's Franzi van Almsick may not have won a medal in Saturday's 100-meter freestyle, but the 200 free is her best event. She feels she needs redemption for not winning the gold in 1992, when I edged her out and she took home a silver.

She felt she easily could have won the gold. She has been so dominant in the event for so many years now, and she loves it so much and she has confidence. She will be so tough to beat today.

Someone who could surprise some people in that event is Claudia Poll of Costa Rica. At the worlds in Rome in 1994, she swam a time that was just off the current world record. I think she's going to swim really fast here.

Bronze is up for grabs, with American Cristina Teuscher, Japan's Suzu Chiba and Germany's Kerstin Kielgass. I think that's going to be a good race.

The 400 individual medley is Tom Dolan's show. He's an amazing swimmer. He almost broke the world record at trials, and he's going to swim fast.

But he's got a lot of pressure on him. The media's built him up, and he's got his own Nike commercial, unheard of for swimmers.

American teammate Eric Namesnik, the veteran and a very hard worker, will have a good shot at a medal. Those two and Jani Sievinen of Finland have been ahead of the rest for a while.

The women's 100 breaststroke should be a battle between world record-holder Penelope Heyns of South Africa and Samantha Riley of Australia, the former record holder. I think Riley will be ready to go here and have something to prove.

American Amanda Beard, 14, is going to be right in it too. If she can handle the pressure, she'll be fine. She's so naive. I don't think she even realizes the magnitude of what she's doing, which is great.

The men's 800 free relay is a tough event to call. You've got Brazil, Finland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Russia. We don't have a lot of depth in the 200 free, so the U.S. guys will have to swim really fast to win a medal.

St. Petersburg native Nicole Haislett, winner of three gold medals in Barcelona and currently an assistant coach at Florida, is in Atlanta for the swimming events.

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