GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, March 25. ANY speculation that King Pieter the Great would rest on his Olympic laurels were quickly laid to rest here this weekend during the Speedo British Grand Prix (50 m).
Dutch Olympic star Pieter van der Hoogenband, double Olympic gold-medalist and world record-setter in the 100-200 frees at Sydney last September, opened his 2001 season in spectacular fashion here this weekend by winning the 100 in an unshaved 49.54 and the 200 in 1:47.54 — No. 1 globally and also an unshaved effort.
After an early January training camp in South Africa, Hoogie made his competitive debut here and showed he's still the man to beat at Fukuoka. However, Aussie Ian Thorpe, who will try and regain his 200 free global standard tomorrow at the Australian nationals in Hobart and who just broke the 800 free world record by nearly five seconds yesterday and Saturday swam the second-fastest 400 ever — a mere .17 off his record –may have something to say about the matter.
In any event, Hoogie's times are sensational for so early in the year and portend a battle royale at the World Championships this July in Fukuoka. Second in the 200 was Great Britain's Edward Sinclair in 1:53+
Hoogie said he was "surprised" and "delighted" with his swims and added he swam faster than he expected. After Sydney "I took four months off" to celebrate his Olympic triumphs, the first-ever by a Dutch man, and
"partied with friends and relatives."
His splits today: 24.91, 52.01 [27.11], 1:19.79 [27.78], 1:47.54 [27.75].
Van den Hoogenband also said he intends to compete in the French Championships/World Championship trials starting the end of April. At this same meet last year in March he went a 3:47.80 400 free in his first effort at that distance — and set a natioanl record by more than six seconds.
Hoogie and compatriot Inge deBruijn (she of 50-100 free and 100 fly gold fame at Sydney) plus flyer Joris Keiser and backstroker-IMer Klaas Eric Zwering have joined forces this year under the Dutch Phillips Swim Team banner, coached by Jacco Verhaeren. Keiser went 24.88 and 54.95 for the 50-100 flys at Glasgow, neither of which was his pr.
DeBruijn also trains for much of the year under Paul Bergen in suburban Portland, Oregon. Bergen was instrumental in developing such noted Americans as Tracy Caulkins, Joan Pennington and Nick Nevid, in the late '70s and early '80s when he was head man at Nashville Aquatics and worked closely with "Inky" up to the time she left for the Olympics.
At the Swiss Nationals in Zurich last weekend (50M), one former and one current American collegian — Dominique Diezi and Karol Novy, respectively — were national record setters. On the women's side, former Northwestern star Diezi, an all-Big 10 selectee for the Wildcats in the late '90s, won the 50-100 frees and 50-100 backs in 26.28, 57.22, 29.60 (national record) and 1:04.57.
Teammate Nicole Zahand, an up-and-coming 20-year-old, went a national-record 2:02.45 to win the 200 free, was runner-up in the 100 (57.81) and second in the 400.
Olympian Flavia Rigamonti ws dominant in the distances, winning the 800 (8:44.38) and mile (16:36.79).
Other women's national records were set by Carmela Schlegel in the 50-100 breaststrokes (32.68, 1:11.87).
On the men's side, Novy, a Cal freshman who joined the Golden Bears in late January and just missed qualifying for last weeeknd's NCAAs at the Pac-10s in early March, set a national record in the 50 back (26.88), and also won the 100 free (50.17), 50 fly (24.82) and 100 fly (55.17).
Last year at the Swiss Winter Nationals Kovy went a then world-leading and national-record 49.60 in the 100 free — a time he didn't better the rest of the year.
In the 50 free teammate Christoph Buhler took top honors with a pr 22.73 to Novy's 22.88.
Other national records included a 2:03.78 200 back by Luka Gabrilo; and both IMs (2:04.76-4:20.83) by 24-year-old Olympian Yves Platel.
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