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Four Meet Records Fall At US Open -- December 4, 1999

by Phillip Whitten

San Antonio, TX - Jenny Thompson and Lenny Krayzelburg both won their specialties in meet record time on the second night of competition at the U.S. Open Swimming Championships, being held at the Palo Alto College Natatorium in San Antonio.

Thompson slashed more than a second and a half off the U.S. Open meet record in the 100 meter butterfly set 14 years ago by the legendary Madame Butterfly, Mary T. Meagher. Thompson's time of 58.36 seconds was less than half a second from the world record (57.88) she set last summer at the acific Games in Sydney. Australia's Susie O'Neill swam a strong race but, at 1:00.10, never threatened Thompson. Ashley Tappin, now training with the U.S. Resident National Team, was a surprise bronze medalist.

Lenny Krayzelburg was also an easy winner. His 54.62, which broke the meet record he set two years ago, was more than a second slower than the world record he set in Australia in August, but it was still faster than anyone else in the world has swum this year. Bobby Brewer took the silver medal once again, while Alex Lim, Swimming World's "1999 High School Swimmer of the Year", was third in 55.97, just three-hundredths ahead of Neil Walker.

Americans placed one-two in the women's 100 meter backstroke as well. B.J. Bedford out-dueled American record holder Lea Maurer, 1:02.46 to 1:02.60 in a race that went down to the final stroke. Right behind was Canada's Kelly Stefanyshyn in 1:02.78.

Cristina Teuscher roared from behind to win the women's 400 meter individual medley. The Columbia University junior outdistanced a very strong field to win going away in 4:45:16. Australia's sixteen year-old Jennifer Reilly, in her first taste of international competition, finished second, a touch ahead of American 16-year-old, Kaitlin Sandeno. Maddie Crippen, the top qualifier was fourth while Canada's Joanne Malar, the world's top-ranked swimmer in this event this year, was fifth.

The men's and women's 200 meter freestyle events both went down to the wire. In the men's event--in which no U.S. swimmer made the final--Holland's "Flying Dutchman," Pieter van den Hoogenband, won his first head-to-head duel with Australia's Grant Hackett, who briefly held the world record in the event earlier this year. "Hoogie" clocked 1:48.30 to Hackett's 1:48.65, with Hungary's Bela Szabados, training at the Trojan Swim Club in Los Angeles, a strong third. American Josh Davis won the consolation finals in 1:49.82, a time that would have placed fifth in the finals.

The women's 200 free saw Slovakia's Martina Moravcova and Australia's Susie O'Neill, who boasts the world's top time in this event in '99, battle stroke for stroke. Moravcova, a graduate economics student at SMU, touched in 1:59.54, just ahead of O'Neill at 1:59.63. Japanese national champion, Suzu Chiba, was third while Costa Rica's Claudia Poll, the defending Olympic and world champion, finished fourth. Lindsay Benko, the U.S. national champion, was seventh.

Australians took the final two men's events contested this evening. Michael Klim, the world record holder in the 100 meters butterfly, won the event in 52.90, breaking a 12-year-old meet record. There were four Aussies among the eight finalsists. Geoff Huegill was second, two strokes back, in 53.30, with Japan's Takashi Yamamoto third (53.60). Auburn's Brock Newman, was the top American finisher in sixth place (54.81).

Last night Australian Grant McGregor finished third in the 200 meter individual medley, only to be disqualified. Tonight, in the 400 meter medley, there was no disqualification and no question about who would stand atop the awards stand. McGregor, a 20-year-old newcomer to the Australia national team, blitzed a strong field that included world-record holder, Tom Dolan, to win by more than four seconds in 4:19.52. The time broke the meet record set in 1987 by Dave Wharton.

Canada's Curtis Myden, who swam the world's fastest time this year in winning the Pan American Games title, finished second, while American Tom Wilkens used a strong second half to place third. Dolan was sixth in 4:29.53.