Present Olympics Athletes >> Katie Hoff
- Date of birth
200m/400m medley, freestyle, freestyle relay
- World records
2 (400m medley up to 29/06/2008)
- 200m medley: 7th (2004)
World Championships (6 medals - 6 gold)
- 200m medley: 1st (2005, 2007)
- 400m medley: 1st (2005, 2007)
- 4x200m freestyle relay: 1st (2005, 2007)
Short-Course World Championships (2 medals - 1 silver, 1 bronze)
- 200m medley: 3rd (2004)
- 400m medley: 2nd (2004)
Pan Pacific Championships (4 medals - 2 gold, 2 silver)
- 200m freestyle: 1st (2006)
- 400m freestyle: 2nd (2006)
- 200m medley: 2nd (2006)
- 400m medley: 1st (2006)
Hoff potentially greatest ever
Katie Hoff will be barely 19-years-old before she dives into the Beijing pool in search of her first Olympic medals but the American startlet can already be considered as arguably the best all-round female swimmer in the world today.
While she will one of the hot favourites to win the medleys in Beijing, her freestyle performances are also so impressive she could medal in these races too.
Perhaps something can be read into the fact she used to train with the great Michael Phelps but while she has some races to win to be considered in the same breath as him, she is quickly carving her own name into the history books.
She was already a bit of a star at just 15 when she went to the Athens Games as the youngest member of the American Olympic team. But lacking major competition experience she failed to qualify for the 400m medley final after coming into the meet with the year's best time.
That poor showing shattered her confidence and it was no surprise days later when she again finished well outside the medals in the 200m medley, trailing home in 7th.
Completely rejuventated one year later, she conquered the world in Montreal setting championship records on her way to winning both the 200m and 400m world medley golds and adding a third title as part of the triumphant American 4x200m relay team.
No 'Hassel' for Hoff
She is gifted in all four strokes but it is her strong freestyle kick that wins numerous titles with her opponents unable to live with her down the final stretch.
If there were any doubts that she has succeeded Ukrainian Yana Klochkova as the best medley swimmer in town, they were firmly put to rest at the 2007 world championships in Melbourne where Hoff was at her devastating best.
She smashed the 400m medley world record by .70secs to erase Klochkova's seven-year mark and won the race itself by a staggering advantage of nearly seven and a half seconds over Russian Yana Martynova.
The teenager from California could hardly contain her joy following the race.
"I just cannot believe it. I heard the crowd during the race and thought 'I must have been good'. Then I saw the board. It is a dream come true. I have worked so hard." she beamed.
Although she lost that world record to Australian Stephanie Rice, that race capped another trio of world titles for Hoff who also won the 200m medley and once again the relay for back to back world championship hat-tricks.
At the 2008 Missouri Grand Prix, she broke the American 400m record set by Janet Evans in 1988 and came within .07 of the world record held by French star Laure Manadou.
All signs point towards medals and records falling her way in a number of races come the Games in Beijing.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.