Brendan Hansen wins 200 breaststroke

STANFORD, Calif. -- Brendan Hansen isn't scared of the 200-meter breaststroke anymore.

He conquered the fear that had lingered since the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials with a resounding victory in the event at the national championships Saturday night, completing a sweep of the breaststroke events in his comeback from a three-year retirement.

"I can't even begin to tell you, regardless of what the time was, how much of a confidence booster that was for me. That was the swim of the meet for me," he said. "I haven't felt that good about a 200 breaststroke since probably `06."

The 29-year-old former world record-holder easily won in 2 minutes, 10.59 seconds -- beating Eric Friedland by 2.32 seconds. Hansen's time was just outside the top 10 fastest in the world this year.

At the '08 trials, Hansen didn't finish in the top two, failing to garner a spot in the event at the Beijing Games.

"So many times, I was constantly waiting for somebody to pass me the last 50," he said. "It was like a car crash the way the final went in 2008 trials. Now you feel like you're getting back in the car, you're always kind of looking in the rearview mirror like, `Oh crap, when are they coming?' For me to do that, to lead the race from head to toe, it's right back where I want to be."

Hansen won the 100 breast on Tuesday with the world's eighth-quickest time.

"I feel like I'm walking out of here with like wings on," he said.

His effort earned a big hug from his coach, Eddie Reese.

"He just knew what that was going to do for us and how it was going to set us up for next year," Hansen said.

Friedland touched second behind Hansen at 2:12.91. Clark Burckle and Sean Mahoney tied for third at 2:13.08.

Missy Franklin won the 100 freestyle against a field that included three Olympians with the world's fifth-fastest time.

Franklin, the 16-year-old phenom who won three gold medals at the recent world championships in China, won in 53.63, a time that would have earned her a bronze medal in the event at Shanghai. She also set a national 15-16 age group record.

She was tied with Olympian Amanda Weir at the turn before finishing as the only swimmer under 54 seconds in the 10-woman field.

"I'm such a looker and I wanted to see where everyone is," Franklin said, deciding that she wouldn't do that this time. "I decided I needed to swim my own race and I put my head down. I had so much fun."

Weir took second at 54.14, and Dana Vollmer was third at 54.27. Olympian Allison Schmitt was fourth. Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce, who trains with Franklin in Colorado, finished fifth.

It was Franklin's second national title, having won the 100 backstroke earlier in the meet.

Franklin will end her summer with a week's vacation in Hawaii before starting her junior year of high school.

With world champion Ryan Lochte skipping the rest of the meet, Olympian Matt Grevers won the 200 backstroke in 1:57.26. Grevers didn't make the U.S. team for worlds, but he swept the 100 and 200 backstrokes at nationals.

Rexford Tullius was second at 1:57.48. Nick Thoman, second to Grevers in the 100, took third at 1:59.31. Thoman was fourth in the 100 at worlds.

Gillian Ryan, a 15-year-old from Allentown, Pa., won the 800 freestyle at 8:27.64, beating Haley Anderson by 1.55 seconds.

Andrew Gemmell outraced Sean Ryan to the wall to win the 1,500 free at 15:01.31. Ryan touched at 15:01.43. They teamed with Ashley Twitchell to win the 5-kilometer open water team event at worlds.

Micah Lawrence won the 200 breaststroke, while Olympian Katie Hoff was sixth in the consolation final.