By Norm Frauenheim
Winnipeg, Canada – For a B team, it was an A-plus performance. Ed Moses of Burke, Va., got Team USA to a very fast start at The Pan American Games with an eye-opening victory in the men’s 100m breaststroke. Moses set the Games record twice, once in the morning preliminaries at 1:01.06 and then again in the evening finals at 1:00.99.
“Some people want to put this team in the B bracket,” U.S. coach Gregg Troy said of a widespread knock at a U.S. team that does not include some of the better-known stars, most of whom are headed to the Pan-Pacific Games in Sydney. “That was not a B swim.”
Far from it, in fact. Moses’ gold-medal winning time ranks as the fifth fastest ever. He is the second U.S swimmer to ever go faster than 1:01.00, second only to Jeremy Linn, who went 1:00.77 at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Moses’ startling performance said a lot about what the Pan Ams can mean for young, unknown, untested swimmers. For Moses, these Pan Ams represent a calling card. The rest of the world will have to deal with him now. The remarkable aspect is that he has been swimming full-time for only two years. He arrived at the Pan Ams with a personal best of 1:02.28, a time recorded at the last national championships.
“I tried to swim the exact way I did this morning,” Moses said after collecting his gold medal. “The coaches told me not to get overwhelmed. “It’s the same swim as the morning with just a lot more excitement.”
As it turned out, the excitement was provided by Moses. Moses’ record was one of two on the first day of swimming. Canadian Joanne Malar ran away from the field to set the other one in the women’s 400m individual medley at 4:38.46, more than five seconds faster than the old Pan Am mark.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Gustavo Borges continues to do what he seemingly has done for as long as George Foreman has been fighting…win, especially at the Pan Am Games. This time, the Olympian and former University of Michigan star won gold in the 200m freestyle in 1:49.41.