Olympic Day 1 Prelims – Complete

By Michael Collins & Phillip Whitten

SYDNEY, September 16. OLYMPIC records were set in two events during prelims of the first day of competition at the Olympic Games here in sunny Sydney, Australia.
Australia's golden boy, Ian Thorpe, cracked Russia's Evgeny Sadovyi's 1992 mark of 3:45.00 in the men's 400 meter freestyle with a time of 3:44.65. The Thorpedo hopped right out of the pool, barely breathing hard, to acknowledge the roar of the crowd.
In the women's 100 meter fly, former world record-holder Jenny Thompson, clocked 57.66 to win the fifth heat and break the Olympic mark of 58.62 set by Qian Hong of China in 1992. That record lasted only until the seventh heat, when Holland's Inky De Bruijn, th current world record-holder, used a strong back half to lower the Olympic standard to 57.60. Australia's Petria Thomas, who finished second to De Bruijn in the final heat, touched in 58.52, also under the old Olympic mark.
In two events, the Olympic mark barely withstood determined challenges. Ukraine's Yana Klochkova clocked 4:37.64 as she breezed to the leading time in the women's 400 IM, just off the drug-tainted Olympic mark of 4:36.29 set by East Germany's Petra Schneider in 1980.
Finally, the USA men's 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay squad clocked 3:15.43, just two-hundredths behind the Olympic record set by the US team in Atlanta. The world record, 3:15.11, set by the USA at the 1995 Pan Pacs, is almost certain to fall in tonight's final.
Here's an event-by-event rundown of the morning's competition.

Men's 4 x 100 Free Relay

Top 8 Qualifiers for the finals are:
1. United States 3:15.43
2. Australia 3:17.37
3. Germany 3:18.70
4. Italy 3:18.86
5. Brazil 3:19.29
6. Russia 3:19.70
7. Sweden 3:19.80
8. France 3:20.19

Splits for the US men were:
Tucker 49.80
Ervin 48.43
Lezak 48.46
Davis 48.74

The Netherlands swam an excellent time of 3:18.32–without using their ace, Pieter van den Hoogenband, but was DQ'd for a jump on an exchange–probably between the third and fourth swimmer. It appears that Anthony Ervin and Jason Lezak should get second swims tonight along with Gary Hall Jr. and Neil Walker. Australia qualified second without using Michael Klim or Ian Thorpe.

As expected, the final shapes up as a battle between the US and Australia, with the winner carrying momentum into tomorrow's events. As we predicted in our preview, the world record almost certainly will fall, with a 3:13 winning time a definite possibility.

Women's 4 x 100 Free Relay
Top 8 Qualifiers for the finals are:
1. United States 3:40.88
2. Netherlands 3:42.32
3. Great Britain 3:42.47
4. Germany 3:43.22
5. Australia 3:43.56
6. Sweden 3:43.77
7. Canada 3:43.82
8. Italy 3:43.97

Splits for the US women were:
Tappin 55.47
Phoenix 56.02
Shealy 54.99
Van Dyken 54.40

It looks like Van Dyken will swim again tonight for sure, along with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres. The call between Shealy and Tapin will be more difficult since Tappin went from a flat start. However, this is Tappin's only event (Shealy has several more), so she probably will be given the nod.

Sweden's Therese Alshammar anchored her team in 53.77, giving notice that she will be a force to contend with in the 100 free.

Tonight's final shapes up as a battle between the US, Germany and Holland. China's drug-aided WR, set at the 1994 World Championships, is in jeopardy.

Men's 100 Breast

1. Fioravanti ITA 1:01.32
2. Malek CZE 1:01.56
3. Moses USA 1:01.59
4. Guttler HUN 1:01.66
5. Kitajima JPN 1:01.68
6. Knabe CAN 1:01.81
7. Komornikov RUS 1:01.87
8. Wouda NRD 1:02.00

9. Kruppa GER 1:02.09
10. Sloudnov RUS 1:02.15
11. Petersen RSA 1:02.20
12. Pihlava FIN 1:02.21
13. Lisogor UKR 1:02.24
14. Duboscq FRA 1:02.40
15. Mew GBR 1:02.42
16. Luetolf SUI 1:02.54

Italy's Domenico Fioravanti led all qualifiers in the men's 100 breast, swimming a smart 1:01.32. The Czech Republic's Daniel Malek swam a lifetime best to qualify second in 1:01.56.

Ed Moses qualified third (1:01.59) after leading his heat most of the way. Pat Calhoun wasn't so lucky. He finished seventh in his heat at 1:03.03 for 25th place and failed to make the semi-finals.

World record-holder, Roman Sloudnov, looked less than impressive, qualifying tenth (1:02.15) for the semis.

In what may be the key to the medley relay, Australia's Phil Rogers–the nation's only entry–finished 17th in 1:02.77, failing to move on to the semis.

Women's 100 Fly

Top 16 Qualifiers for the semi-finals
1. De Bruijn NED 57.60
2. Thompson USA 57.66
3. Thomas AUS 58.52
4. Jedrzejczak POL 58.66
5. Torres USA 58.76
6. Maravcova SVK 58.95
7. Onishi JPN 59.11
8. Jacobsen DEN 59.45

9. O'Neill AUS 59.49
10. Soutiguina RUS 59.50
11. Sjoeberg SWE 59.59
12. Van Almsick GER 59.72
13. Mocanu ROM 59.72
14. Skou DEN 59.79
15. Kammerling SWE 59.88
16. Loots RSA 59.94

The top 3 finishers, Inge de Bruijn, Jenny Thompson, and Petria Thomas, were under the Olympic Record time of 58.62 set by Hong Qian of China in 1992. The first seven times were faster than Amy Van Dyken's winning time from the 1996 Games, as the top 18 women cracked the one-minute barrier.

Men's 400 Free

Top 8 Qualifiers for the finals
1. Thorpe AUS 3:44.65
2. Rosolino ITA 3:45.65
3. Neethling RSA 3:48.08
4. Brembilla ITA 3:48.41
5. Carvin USA 3:48.42
6. Keller USA 3:48.62
7. Coman ROM 3:48.77
8. Hackett AUS 3:48.91

Ian Thorpe sent the crowd into a frenzy as he swam to a new Olympic Record time of 3:44.65. The old mark of 3:45.00 was held by Evgeny Sadovyi of Russia. Thorpe was taking 30 strokes per length and looked unchallenged.

Hackett, the other Australian, was the last qualifier for the finals, but should swim quite a bit faster this evening. He swam unshaved–sporting almost a week-old beard.

Americans Chad Carvin and Klete Keller both made the finals, along with two Italians, Massi Rosolino and Emiliano Brembilla, who both swam very well. Both Americans followed their usual strategies, Carvin swimming hard from the start, Keller saving himself for a sprint in the final 100 meters.

Italy's Rosolino appaers to be a definite medal contender, as his 3:45.65 was only a second behind Thorpe and more than two seconds ahead of South Africa's Ryk neethling, the third qualifier.

Women's 400 IM

Top 8 Qualifiers for the finals:
1. Klochkova UKR 4:37.64
2. Tajima JPN 4:40.35
3. Sandeno USA 4:40.89
4. Caslaru ROM 4:41.04
5. Reilly AUS 4:41.51
6. Malar CAN 4:42.65
7. Hetzer GER 4:43.23
8. Crippen USA 4:44.00

Ukraine's Yana Klochkova, swam 4:37.64–almost three seconds faster than Japan's Yasuko Tajima (4:40.45), her nearest pursuer in the women's 400 IM–and looked very relaxed in doing so. She will be hard to beat in tonight's final.

The USA put both Kaitlin Sandeno (third, 4:40.89) and Maddy Crippen (eighth, 4:44.00)in the final to set-up a good start for America.

The crowd went wild when Australian swimmer Jennifer Reilly qualified for the final and just missed the Aussie record of 4:41.46. Romania's Beatrice Coada- Caslaru looked very relaxed in posting the fourth fastest prelim time of 4:41.04.

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