Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

67. Katie Hoff

United States
Age: 19

The comparisons to Michael Phelps are inevitable — like Mike, Hoff has a habit of setting world records; she trains at the same club in Baltimore where Phelps perfected his technique, and, also like Phelps, the versatile stroker will swim in five individual events in Beijing. But the teen doesn't mind the constant juxtaposition. The two fish out of water are like siblings, keeping in touch regularly via text. At her Olympic debut in 2004, Hoff was so nervous and overwhelmed that she felt ill after her first race under the rings. Not this time. "I definitely have more confidence, and I know what to expect," she says. "The last time, I only had three months to prepare, and this time, I had four years."