Short Course World Champs, Day 5: Marleen Veldhuis Adds to Dutch Sprint Legacy with 50 Freestyle Win -- October 11, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS, October 11. MARLEEN Veldhuis, The Netherlands, won the 50 freestyle tonight at 24.41, with 100 freestyle winner Libby Lenton (AUS; 24.54) and two-time defending champion and world record-holder Therese Alshammar (SWE; 24.63) in the other medal slots.
Veldhuis continues the recent tradition of great freestyle sprinters from the Netherlands, including Olympic champions Pieter Van den Hoogenband and Inge de Bruin. Veldhuis had performed well throughout the meet, winning bronze in the 100 freestyle, but gold had eluded her till tonight.
The race was very close to about 40 meters when Veldhuis willed herself to the front. Eileen Coparropa of Panama tied with Flavia Cazziolato (BRA) for 4th just 0.02 seconds back from Alshammar, with longtime British sprint star Alison Sheppard, a three-time medalist in the event, only 0.03 further back.
In Jenny Thompson’s last race, the Americans repeated in the seventh and eighth spots, just switching positions between themselves from the morning. Although Thompson was seventh she concluded her career with a solid effort, improving from an eighth place :24.93 prelim to :24.76 in the final. Jenny won two silver medals in this event in previous short course Worlds. Her time tonight surpassed one of those silver medal swims.
-- D. Scott