|PHOENIX, Arizona, October 18. THE United States and Brazil are dominating the swimming portion of the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
After two days of competition the United States has six golds, while Brazil has four golds. Cesar Cielo posted a very fast time to win the 100 free, a 47.84 that ties him as the second-fastest to swim the event in a textile suit, and about four tenths behind James Magnussen's 47.49 from worlds. Cielo leapfrogged ahead of Brent Hayden, who until Sunday was second-fastest in the world in the event. Cielo finished fourth at worlds in the 100 free with a 48.01. The men's 100 free has been the only event so far in which the United States has not won a medal at Pan Ams. Scot Robison was fourth in 48.98 and Bobby Savulich was sixth in 49.62. Cielo returned later on Sunday to help Brazil win the 400 free relay with a 47.07 split. The United States finished with a silver medal in the relay, about a second behind Brazil.
Rachel Bootsma and Elizabeth Pelton battled in the final of the women's 100 backstroke, with Bootsma gaining her first major international gold medal in 1:00.37. Bootsma used a strong final 50 meters to pull away from Pelton, who swam a 1:01.12. Pelton was the top qualifier in prelims with a 1:01.57, which broke a 16-year-old meet record held by BJ Bedford of the United States.
Felipe Silva and Felipe Lima gave Brazil a 1-2 finish in the men's 100 breast. Silva, the reigning world champion in the 50 breast, won with a 1:00.34, and Lima was second with a 1:00.99. The US finished third and fourth in that race, with Marcus Titus winning the bronze in 1:01.12 and Kevin Swander taking fourth in 1:01.17.
After scratching the 400 IM at the world championships, Thiago Pereira of Brazil repeated as Pan Am champion in the event with a 4:16.68, just shy of breaking into the top 25 in the event. Conor Dwyer and Robert Margalis of the US took second and third.
Claire Donahue won her first international medal at the Pan Am Games, and it happened to be gold in the 100 butterfly. Donahue's time of 58.73 is about seven tenths slower than she swam at the nationals in August to make herself the second-fastest American in the event, but good enough for the win.
While some of the best swimmers in North and South America were at the Pan American Games this weekend, some of the best European and Australian swimmers raced at the Stockholm stop of the FINA world cup. Chad Le Clos continues to be at the top of the leaderboard for the men with 41 points on his way to a possible $100,000 for the overall points winner. So far, Le Clos has won $16,000 for finishing first, second or third in his races in two meets so far.
Sarah Sjostrom, the world record holder in the long course 100 fly, showed her freestyle versatility by winning the 100 and 200 freestyles and finishing second in the 400 free. Paul Biedermann had to hold of Le Clos in the 200 free for the win in 1:43.80, for the only two swims so far this season under 1:44.
Biedermann and Le Clos are not going to have to worry about Ian Thorpe when the swimming legend makes his competitive return to swimming in Singapore. Thorpe has announced that he will not swim the 100 and 200 freestyles, the two events he will likely race at the Australian Olympic Trials. Instead, he'll step up for the 100 IM and 100 fly. A strange lineup indeed for his first meet in about five years. Thorpe is also suffering from a chest infection as he prepares for his first meet, but his manager said the Olympic champion should be ready to go in November.
More than a dozen Masters short course meters world records were broken this weekend at two meets on opposite sides of the United States. I was at the third annual Rowdy Gaines Classic in Orlando, Florida, capturing race footage and interviews that you can see at swimmingworld.tv. The meet's namesake was a part of numerous relay world records, in addition to an individual mark in the 200 freestyle for the 50-54 age group. Gaines swam a 1:54.61 to lead off Team Blu Frog's 800 free relay that almost went under eight minutes. Steve Wood walked away with two individual world records in the 50 and 100 backstrokes. Several Olympic medalists were in attendance, including Olympic champions Brooke Bennett and Martin Zubero. Tracey McFarlane, a 1998 Olympian, was swimming in her first competition since the 1991 world championships.
At the Pacific Masters championships, Laura Val continued on the record-breaking tear that she started in January with five short course meters world records. Val set new marks in the 100 Back, 200 IM, 100 Fly, 100 IM and 400 Free. A few more relay world records were set at the meet. A couple of Olympians highlighted the competition. Natalie Coughlin swam the 100 back, 200 IM and 100 free in times that would have been Masters world records in the 25-29 age group, but Coughlin decided to swim exhibition, so her times will not be submitted for records. Coughlin's times are not listed in the official results, but we have learned that she swam a 1:01 in the 100 back, 57 in the 100 free and 2:15 in the 200 IM. Anthony Ervin, the 2000 Olympic co-champion in the 50 free, is using Masters meets as a gauge of his level of fitness as he attempts to compete in the 2012 Olympic Trials. Ervin swam a 51.67 in the 100 free and 22.39 in the 50 free.
We'll have a full list of all the world records on our Masters news channel at swimmingworld.com. And you can see race footage and interviews from the Rowdy Gaines Classic at swimmingworld.tv.
Laura Barito was named NCAA Woman of the Year in a ceremony in Indianapolis last night. Barito extends the streak of swimmers who have won this award to three straight and four in the past five years. Barito graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey with a degree in engineering and was NCAA Division III champion in the 50 freestyle and also in the 400-meter hurdles in track and field.
A few college teams were in action this past weekend, and you can read results from meets featuring Florida, Stanford and others around the country on our college news channel at swimmingworld.com.
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