At 11:23 A.M. on a normal Monday, 15-year-old Anita Nall would be eating lunch at Towson Catholic High School in Towson, Md. Probably spaghetti, she said, or leftovers from dinner the night before.
Today, at 11:23 A.M., she shattered the world record for the women's 200-meter breast-stroke, and tonight she did it again. That made her one of the youngest world-record-breaking swimmers, male or female. In 1978 and 1979, four girls, including the Americans Mary T. Meagher and Sippy Woodhead, broke world records at 14, and in 1964, Patty Caretto, an American, broke one at 13.
Nall's heroics came in the United States Olympic trials here at the Indiana University Natatorium.
In the morning preliminaries, with the eight fastest qualifying for the evening final, she swam four laps of the 50-meter pool in 2 minutes 25.92 seconds. That wiped out the world record of 2:26.71 set in 1988 by Silke Horner, then an East German, at the Summer Olympics at Seoul, South Korea.
Nall still had to finish first or second in the final to make the Olympic team. She finished first, lowering her eight-hour-old record to 2:25.35. U.S. Mark Last Year
The Olympic trials are doubling as the Phillips 66 national spring championships. In these championships a year ago, in Federal Way, Wash., Nall set an American record of 2:27.08, the fastest at the time except for Horner's world record.
Nall's records here were doubly significant. On Sunday morning, when these six-day trials began, 19-year-old Jenny Thompson set a world record of 54.48 seconds for the women's 100-meter freestyle. The previous record-holder was Kristin Otto, a former East German.
So for the second time in two days, an American teen-ager wiped out a world record held by a former East German. Otto and Horner have retired, and therefore are not swimming for the unified German team as other former East Germans are. Meanwhile, former East German coaches have said that their women set many world records while taking anabolic steroids, which are illegal synthetic body-building drugs.
Nall, at 5 feet 5 inches and 123 pounds, is the youngest of the elite American swimmers. Janet Evans, a 20-year-old doyenne, refers to Nall as Little One. But Nall has poise far beyond a normal 10th-grader, and she said she did not feel too young.
"When you're in the water," she said, "it doesn't matter how old you are. Out of the water, I'm young and everyone treats me that way." Light Practices
Many elite swimmers train five or five and a half hours a day and cover 14,000 meters or more in two or three daily workouts. Nall is at the opposite end. Murray Stephens, Nall's coach, said Nall swims in about eight practices a week and does not spend more than 20 hours a week in the water. She does not lift weights, although she does dry-land training daily and aerobics occasionally. She also trains seven days a week.
Nall is a prime beneficiary of trust-fund payments from United States Swimming, the national governing body. She has received $31,000 in the last year and she will get $5,000 for each of today's two world records. Because of these payments, she will be ineligible for college swimming.
"Physically," Stephens said, "she's a strong girl. Competitively, she's probably 25. She knows how to compete and she likes to compete. She likes to swim aggressively."
Over the years, the breast-stroke has changed from a flat, graceful stroke to an explosive one in which the body darts out of the water. Using the new style, Mike Barrowman, an American, has broken the men's world record for the 200-meter breast-stroke five times in the last 31 months.
Nall swims with the new style, high and quick. She seems at ease with it. "If you have strong legs," she said, "you can get high enough to shoot yourself out of the water."
She also seems comfortable with her success. "I'm not really surprised with the record," she said. "I wanted to do that time. I was not sure when it was going to come. And when I did it this morning, I wasn't really thinking I had made the Olympic team. I was thinking of my goals. I thought if I swam fast but didn't make the team, that's O.K." SPLASHES