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Middletown grad in Olympic finals

August 13, 2000

Middletown grad in Olympic finals



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Diabetes and a drug suspension couldn't keep Gary Hall Jr. from making another trip to the Olympics.

The flamboyant swimmer finished second to Neil Walker in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday night, earning a trip to Sydney.

Walker, who missed the Olympic team by one-hundredth of a second in 1996, set a blistering pace over the first 50 meters, making the turn more than a half-second under a world-record pace. Walker faded on the return lap but held on to win in 48.71 seconds.

Hall, closing fast, took second in 48.84 to claim the other Olympic berth.

The 25-year-old Phoenix resident won silver in the 100 at the 1996 Atlanta Games, but his life has been troubled since then. He was suspended for three months in 1998 after testing positive for marijuana, then learned last year he has diabetes.

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Hall didn't even earn a qualifying time for the trials until a month ago and often has to give himself up to eight insulin shots a day to cope with his disease.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Beau Wiebel, a graduate of Middletown High School, has reached tonight's final in the 200 individual medley. Wiebel, of the Athens Bulldogs, finished fourth in the semifinals Sunday with a time of 2:02.43, shaving nearly two seconds off his time in the preliminaries. The top two swimmers in each event qualifies for Sydney and Wiebel's time in the semifinals is 1.08 seconds behind the first-place qualifier.

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