Pan Ams Day 2: USA Takes All Five Events -- August 12, 2003
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, August 12. NIGHT Two of the 14th Pan American Games swimming competition began with an ever-so-slight breeze drifting in off the Carribean and the pool water temperatures slowly declining. But the temperature of the US team remained red hot as the Americans swept all five gold medals on Tuesday evening, setting two more meet records and adding two more silver medals to the collection.
The US has won 8 of the 10 events through two days of competition and has the only five meet records so far in the competition.
Dana Vollmer, 15, one of the younger swimmers on the US team showed that her lack of years was certainly no deterrent, starting the night off winning the 200 meter freestyle. Vollmer, who led off the gold medal winning 4 x 200 relay on Monday, finally cracked the 2:00 barrier, winning in 1:59.80. She shook off a challenge at the midway point from teammate Colleen Lanne and came home strong for her second gold medal. Lanne finished 2nd in 2:01.98, touching out Brazilian Mariana Brochado for the sliver. Brochado finished just .10 behind in 2:02.08.
The men sustained the momentum with a 1-2 finish of their own in the 400 meter individual medley. Robert Margalis turned in a lifetime best of 4:19.09 in winning the gold medal, using a strong middle 200 in the race to gain some separation from the field and then held on to win the event. His teammate, Eric Donnelly, used a different tactic, waiting until the final 50 for a burst in the freestyle to run down Brazil's Thiago Pereira to win the silver in 4:19.65. Pereira finished in 4:19.89.
Actually, the fastest time in the 400 IM was turned in during prelims by the USA's Ryan Lochte. SWimming exhibition, Lochte clocked 4:16.80, making him the seventh fastest American all-time.
In the men's 100 fly, the US averted a disastrous start of the race to still nail another gold medal. Ben Michaelson, who is also writing of his experiences for SwimInfo, momentarily was left on the blocks at the start and entered the water well behind the field. Michaelson righted himself once in the water, and blazed out to a 24.9 second clocking for the first 50 and then left the field in his wake, earning his first international gold with a new Pan Am record of 53.04. Argentina's Jose Meolans earned silver in 53.28 and Brazilian Kaio Almeida was 3rd in 53.44.
The 2nd American, Tommy Hannan, was not as successful in overcoming the start as Michaelson. Hannan, a 2000 Olympian in the 100 fly in Sydney, was the top qualifier after prelims, but lost first his goggles and then had his swim cap come down over his eyes on the start, causing him to stop dead in the water to collect himself before resuming the race. Hannan gallantly caught the field turning in 25.08 at the 50, but was unable to sustain it over the final 50 meters and finished 6th in 54.04.
In the women's 200 meter breaststroke, American Alexi Spann, with her father -- 1979 Pan Am bronze medalist Scott Spann (200 IM) -- watching from the stands, broke the 2:30 barrier while winning the event in 2:29.76, easily outdistancing Canadians Lisa Blackburn (2:31.52) and Kathleen Stoody (2:31.93) who earned the other two medals. The second American, Melissa Klein, finished 4th, just out the medals.
Capping off the evening, the Americans captured the men's 4 x 200 free relay turning back an early Brazilian challenge in setting a new Pan Am Record of 7:18.93, a time that would have finished in the top 8 at the recent World Championships.
Ryan Lochte got the Americans out to a slight lead as he overtook Brazil's Rodrigo Castro at the first exchange in 1:50.06. Bryan Goldberg dipped below 1:50 for the first time in maintaining the lead at the halfway point. Jeff Lee held off Brazilian Gustavo Borges on the 3rd leg and then Dan Ketchum pulled away from the field for the final margin of victory that was closer for 500 meters than the final times would indicate. Brazil was 2nd and Canada 3rd.
Women´s 200m Freestyle
1. Dana Vollmer, USA, 1:59.80
2. Colleen Lanné, USA, 2:01.98
3. Mariana Brochado, BRA, 2:02.08
Men´s 400m Individual Medley
1. Robert Margalis, USA, 4:19.09
2. Eric Donnelly, USA, 4:19.65
3. Thiago Pereira, BRA, 4:19.89
Men´s 100m Butterfly
1. Ben Michaelson, USA, 53.04
2. Jose Martin Meolans, ARG, 53.28
3. Kaio Almeida, BRA, 53.44
Women´s 200m Breaststroke
1. Alexi Spann, USA, 2:29.76
2. Lisa Blackburn, CAN, 2:31.52
3. Kathleen Stoody, CAN, 2:31.93
Men´s 4x200 Freestyle Relay
1. USA (Ryan Lochte; Bryan Goldberg; Jeffrey Lee; Daniel Ketchum), 7:18.93
2. BRA, 7:25.17
3. CAN, 7:27.18