By Phillip Whitten
AUSTIN, Texas, June 19. IN 2000, Dutch swimmer Inge De Bruijn took the athletic world by storm, setting world records in four events, winning three individual gold medals in Sydney — more than any other female athlete at the Games, and being named female "World Swimmer of the Year" by Swimming World magazine at year's end.
Since then, she's been relatively quiet, surfacing every now and then to remind the world that she's still around. Last summer, for example, with minimal training, she won the 50 free and 50 fly at the World Championships in Barcelona.
Late last year, after working out some personal issues, she decided to leave Holland and return to Beaverton, Oregon, to train with Coach Paul Bergen. It was under Bergen's tutelage that De Bruijn enjoyed her greatest success, a success she hopes to duplicate this summer in Athens.
This weekend she is competing in Austin, Texas, at the South Texas Senior Circuit Championships and, though she is far from being fully rested, Bergen expects his star pupil to make some waves.
"I think Inky is going to break the world record in the 100 free in Austin," he told SwimInfo in an exclusive interview. "The record (53.66 by Australia's Libby Lenton) is soft."
Bergen also predicted DeBruijn would swim a "strong" 100 fly at the Texas meet, though he did not want to commit to a specific time.
"Inky should be able to go a 53-mid or a little faster in Austin," he said, "but we're really looking toward Athens."
"She's going under 53 seconds in Athens," Bergen predicted. "Any of her competitors who are not thinking 52 will not be going for the gold. It will take a 52 to win in Athens and Inky is going to swim a 52."
Bergen also stated he expect De Bruijn to challenge her world record in the 50 free and 100 fly at the Games.