By Phillip Whitten
100 meter freestyle
EAST MEADOW, New York, March 27. YESTERDAY Ian Crocker talked about taking his game to “a new level.”
His 49.07 for the 100 fly certainly qualifies for that category. Today he hoped to be competitive in the 100 free, and was pleased after qualifying fourth in a very fast 47.63.
But even the self-confident Texas senior was unprepared for what he did in winning the 100 in a new world record.
Powering up and down the pool like a speed boat at full throttle, he touched in 46.25, a time that was nothing short of amazing. Crocker, normally analytical about even his best races, couldn’t stop beaming. He not only had won, he’d obliterated the 10 year-old world record of 46.74 held by none other than The Czar, Alexander Popov.
Three men swam 46s. Cal’s Duje Draganja also bettered Popov’s record with his 46.64. Draganja led Cracker at the 50, 22.06 to 22.17, but couldn’t match the Texan’s back-half strength. Auburn’s Fred Bousquet was third in 46.87.
“I think this shows that I’m not just a one-event, one-stroke guy,” he said later.
His teammate, Brendan Hansen, provided some perspective: “Before Barcelona, Ian was swimming consistently 52-lows for the 100 (meter) fly and we thought that was pretty good. Then came the 50.9 in Barcelona. We now know that during that time when he was doing 52s, he was actually in a prolonged slump. He’s not in a slump any more.”