Hastings plans to make splash in 400

Natasha Hastings competes in the opening round of

Natasha Hastings competes in the opening round of the women's 400 meter dash during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field. (June 22, 2012) (Credit: Getty)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Natasha Hastings' ultra-new, ultra-light shoes were also ultra- soggy.

She'd just splashed to a victory in 51.86 seconds in the third of four first-round heats of the women's 400-meter dash at the USA Olympic Trials.

Getting dry became her first priority on this rainy Friday at Hayward Field, followed by getting ready for a semifinal race on Saturday.



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"I only ran fast enough to advance," said Hastings, 25, a Brooklyn-born, University of South Carolina alum out of A.P. Randolph High School in Manhattan who lives in Rosedale.

She brought back a gold medal four years ago, after running the third leg in the opening round of the women's 4 x 400 relay at the 2008 Beijing Games.

She didn't get to run the 4 x 400 final at Beijing, as the "A" team of Mary Wineberg, Allyson Felix, Monique Henderson and Sanya Richards did the honors.

Now, Hastings' ambitions are far higher.

An individual medal in London is her primary goal. And if that happens, she'd be a candidate for another medal in the 4 x 400.

She's been running "the circuit" too long, though, to get overconfident.

"The real races are just ahead," Hastings said. "And they'll be a whole lot faster. It will definitely take a [50-second run] just to make the U.S. team, and probably a [49-second run] to medal."

The new shoes -- all pink, all glitz -- were given to her courtesy of her sponsor, Under Armour.

"You can't buy them anywhere," Hastings said. "They're just for Under Armour athletes. Maybe someday you'll see them in stores. Mabe if I do something big."

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