Day 4, Semifinals: Schoeman, Hoogie Qualify 1-2 for the 100 Free Final; Popov Is Out

By Phillip Whitten

ATHENS, August 17. THE semifinals of the men's 100 meter freestyle tonight, coupled with this morning's prelims, constituted nothing less than a lesson in humility.

This morning, both Americans failed to qualify for even the semis. Gone is Ian Crocker, who set a blistering world short course record in this event last March. Gone, too, is Jason Lezak, who at the US Trials swam a world-leading 48.17, an American record that also made Lezak the second fastest man in history.

The semis, too, took their toll, like a sadistic grim reaper. Finishing ninth — just 2-hundredths of a second out of the 8th spot –was Russia's Alex Popov (pictured). Gone is the opportunity for an unprecedented third Olympic gold medal in the 100 free.

Now all that remains here for this proud warrior is the final showdown with Gary Hull, Jr. who, like Achilles, has been sulking in his tent — in Gary's case over being left off the US 4 x 100m free relay team. Having been proved right by events, Hall, too, is now focusing on the upcoming final battle with the Czar.

And who was the man who just edged Popov out of the 8th and final spot for tomorrow's final?

None other than Ian Thorpe, whose dreams of a 100-meter gold medal appear to be as ephemeral as an Outback rain cloud in summer.

Another goner is Lithuania's Rolandas Gimbutis, 14th tonight in 49.75 after tying for second in prelims in a hot 48.85.

France's Freddie Bousquet and Trinidad's George Bovell also failed to make the cut.

Now, let's turn to who did make the cut for the final.

South Africa's Roland Schoeman qualified first in 48.39, 16-hundredths ahead of Holland's Hoogie. Schoeman suggested after his race he was getting a little extra help. "The Olympic Gods are looking over me, I'm going very well," he said.

Italy's Filippo Magnini is third.

The final field also includes Algeria's Salim Iles, South Africa's Ryk Neethling and, of course, Thorpe.

Even without many of the Big Guys, this will be a great final. The race will probably come down to Schoeman and Hoogie.

Hoogie said after his race, "the field for the finals looks really exciting, my friend Popov is missing and that's a big surprise for me, I think I will be ready for the action." I bet he will …

Men 100m Freestyle Semifinals

Record Split Name NOC Location Date
WR 47.84 23.16
V.D. HOOGENBAND Pieter NED Sydney (AUS) 19 SEP 2000
OR 47.84 23.16
V.D. HOOGENBAND Pieter NED Sydney (AUS) 19 SEP 2000

Event No: 16

Rank Heat Lane Name NOC R.T. 50m Time Time
Behind
1 2 1 SCHOEMAN Roland Mark RSA 0.64 22.66 48.39
25.73
2 2 4 van den HOOGENBAND Pieter NED 0.78 23.34 48.55
25.21 0.16
3 2 7 MAGNINI Filippo ITA 0.73 24.07 48.91
24.84 0.52
4 2 2 KAPRALOV Andrey RUS 0.78 23.35 49.12
25.77 0.73
5 1 8 ILES Salim ALG 0.71 23.27 49.13
25.86 0.74
6 1 5 DRAGANJA Duje CRO 0.77 23.18 49.14
25.96 0.75
7 2 5 NEETHLING Ryk RSA 0.71 23.45 49.18
25.73 0.79
8 1 3 THORPE Ian AUS 0.88 23.98 49.21
25.23 0.82

9 1 6 POPOV Alexander RUS 0.84 23.32 49.23
25.91 0.84
10 2 3 BOUSQUET Frederick FRA 0.74 23.39 49.25
25.86 0.86
11 1 7 BOVELL George TRI 0.78 23.37 49.53
26.16 1.14
12 2 6 BARNIER Romain FRA 0.71 23.54 49.63
26.09 1.24
13 1 2 MANKOC Peter SLO 0.77 23.55 49.71
26.16 1.32
14 1 4 GIMBUTIS Rolandas LTU 0.69 23.27 49.75
26.48 1.36
15 1 1 ROJAS Luis VEN 0.66 23.57 49.85
26.28 1.46
16 2 8 SPANNEBERG Torsten GER 0.82 23.90 49.88
25.98 1.49

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Author: Archive Team

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