By Phillip Whitten
June 28. ED MOSES, whose world record in the 100 meter breaststroke was nipped earlier today when Russia's Roman Sludnov clocked 1:00.26, says the prospect of facing the Russian at the World Championships in Japan next month has "sparked a fire inside of me."
"We didn't know who was going to show up in Fukuoka (Japan) to battle it out in the 100 breast. It's apparent now that Sludnov will be ready."
"The record has gone back and forth between us," said Moses, both long course and short course. "Going head-to-head should bring out the best in both of us."
Sludnov first set the long course world record in the 100m breast last year at the Russian Nationals at 1:00.36. Moses lowered that time to 1:00.29 on March 28, 2001 at the US Nationals. Now Sludnov has recaalimed the record at 1:00.26.
In short course, the Russian set world marks at both 100 and 200 meters last March at the Short Course World Championships in Athens. One week later, the American broke them at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.
At last year's Olympic Games, the 100m breast was won by unheralded Domenico Fioravanti in 1:00.44, as Moses finished second and Sludnov third. Moses, who is just beginning his taper, figures the Italian will be in the hunt again this year.
"You gotta plan on the Italian guy being there. There will be three people there, fighting it out in the 100 breast. After what he did in the Olympics, you can't count him out."
Pete Morgan, Moses's coach this summer, commented on Sludnov's record: "That just ups the ante. Ed likes challenges and he's the kind of guy who picks up on the hype.
As for Fioravanti, Morgan says, "You have to figure he'll be a factor. He wasn't pushed at the Italian Nationals. He may have been unshaved and unrested and he still swam well. Absolutely he's a player.
"We haven't seen his best this year. I'm sure he's saving it for Japan. But so is Ed."