By Phillip Whitten & Michael Collins
SYDNEY, September 17. THREE world records were washed away beneath the waves of the Homebush Aquatic Centre in Sydney on the second night of competition at the 2000 Olympic Games. In all, eight world marks have
fallen victim to the unprecedented aquatic assault with six more days of competition to come. But the story of tonight's events encompasses much more than a simple listing of world records set.
The night started out as a Dutch treat, with first Pieter van den Hoogenband and then Inge De Bruijn setting world records in the men's 200 meter freestyle and the women's 100 meter butterfly, respectively. The evening ended with the USA's Tom Dolan punching his fist in the air to celebrate his world record in the men's 400 individual medley, as he led the second
American one-two sweep in a row. In the previous event, the women's 400 free, Brooke Bennett and Diana Munz collected gold and silver for the long trans-Pacific flight home.
Here's the event by event details:
Women's 100 Back SEMI-FINALS
Top 8 qualify for the Finals:
1. Mocanu ROM 1:00.70
2. Nakamura JPN 1:01.07
3. Inada JPN 1:01.25
4. Zhivanevskaya ESP 1:01.41
5. Bedford USA 1:01.61
5. Maracineanu FRA 1:01.61
7. Ornstedt DEN 1:01.69
8. Calub AUS 1:01.86
Romanian Diana Mocanu, 16, got the evening off to a rollicking start when she posted the fastest semifinal time in the women's 100 meter backstroke, 1:00.70, just missing the Olympic record of 1:00.68 set by the incomparable Kristina Egerszegi in 1992. Japan's Mai Nakamura was a close second, 1:01.07, just ahead of her teammate, Noriko Inada (1:01.25). Nakamura,
considered by many to be the favorite for the gold, commented: "I am not totally happy with the time, but I've still got the final."
Spain's Nina Zhivanevskaya was fourth fastest (1:01.41), followed by the USA's B.J. Bedford and France's Roxanna Maracineanu, tied at 1:01.61. Cheered on by the crowd, Australia's Dyana Calub was the final qualifier in 1:01.86, just ahead of Germany's Antje Buschschulte, a pre-Olympics medal favorite.
Men's 200 Free SEMI-FINALS
Top 8 qualify for the Finals:
1. Hoogenband NED 1:45.35 WORLD RECORD!!!
2. Thorpe AUS 1:45.37 Australian Record
3. Rosolino ITA 1:46.60
4. Davis USA 1:47.06 AMERICAN RECORD
5. Say CAN 1:48.50
6. Salter GBR 1:48.64
7. Hackett AUS 1:48.76
8. Palmer GBR 1:48.79
The Flying Dutchman, Pieter von den Hoogenband, wowed the crowd with his world record swim in heat 1 of the semi-finals. Hoogie was all business right from the start, immediately going to the lead and splitting 24.51 and 51.12 at the 50 and 100 meter mark. America's Josh Davis, swimming in lane 5, hung gamely in the race, splitting 24.73 and 51.52.
Hoogie expanded his margin in the third lap, making the final turn in 1:18.31 to Davis's 1:19.13. The Dutchman finished up with a 27.04 second final lap, touching the wall in 1:45.35 and breaking Ian Thorpe's global standard of 1:45.51 set at the Aussie Trials on May 15. Davis finished in 1:47.06, lowering his American record of 1:47.26 set at the US Trials in
Said Hoogie: "I feel a bit weird, because I wanted to swim 1:46. I didn't expect 1:45. When I touched the wall, it was amazing. Davis, known for going out very fast in this race, characteristically injected a note of humor: "This is the first time I've had someone to drag off. I'm super-happy (at making the final)."
Hoogie was now a world record-holder, but Thorpe was still to swim his semi-final. The Aussie national treasure used a different strategy, but there was no questioning his goal: to break the Dutchman's minutes-old world mark. Splitting 24.95 and 52.03, he led Italy's Massi Rosolino from the start, then shifted into high gear in the third lap.
Carried by the crowd, he made the final turn in 1:18.67 and stroked smoothly for the wall. Thorpe touched amid a deafening roar, but when the time was
posted it was 1:45.37–the second fastest time in history, but still two-hundredths shy of Hoogie's mark. Rosolino followed in 1:46.60, making him the third fastest double century swimmer of all time.
Thorpe commented: "I wanted to swim 1:45-low, so I am looking forward to the final." So, too, is the Dutchman, who allowed that he had "a little left
for the final, but I think he (Thorpe) has a lot more."
Women's 100 Fly FINALS
GOLD – De Bruijn NED 56.61 WORLD RECORD!!!
SILVER – Moravcova SVK 57.97
BRONZE – Torres USA 58.20
4. Thomas AUS 58.49
5. Thompson USA 58.73
6. Onishi JPN 59.13
7. O'Neill AUS 59.27
8. Mocanu ROM 59.43
The word on Holland's Inge De Bruijn was that she can't handle the pressure, that she can't win the big ones. The word was wrong, as Inky won the women's 100 meter butterfly–the first final of the evening–in spectacular fashion, breaking her own world mark with a time of 56.62 seconds, and leaving no doubt that she is the fastest female flyer of all time.
De Bruijn forged a narrow lead in the first lap, turning in 26.67, just 12-hundredths ahead of America's Jenny Thompson, the former world record-holder. That's when Inky turned on the jets like a giant squid, putting a lot of open water between herself and the rest of the field.
Coming home, it was all Inky, as the other seven women–easily the fastest field in history–contended for the silver. When she hit the pads in 56.6, she recorded the second Dutch world record in two events.
Next to Inky it was Slovakia's Martina Moravcova who had the most left for the second lap, as she worked her way from fourth at the turn to second(57.97) at the wall. Thirty-three year-old Dara Torres was the bronze medalist (58.20). Australia's Petria Thomas was fourth in 58.49, while, in an amazing turn of events, Thompson faded to fifth (58.73).
A tearful de Bruijn could only say "It has finally happened…I'm so happy."
Torres, who won her first individual medal in four trips to the Olympics, was overjoyed: "I am very excited to come home with an individual medal,"
she said. A perplexed Thompson could only say "I don't know what to say. I gave it my best effort and really tightened up at the end."
Men's 100 Breast FINALS
GOLD – Fioravanti ITA 1:00.46
SILVER – Moses USA 1:00.73
BRONZE – Sloudnov RUS 1:00.91
4. Kitajima JPN 1:01.34
5. Malek CZE 1:01.50
6. Knabe CAN 1:01.63
7. Petersen RSA 1:01.63
8. Luetolf SUI 1:01.88
Italy's Domenico Fioravanti had the fastest time in the prelims (1:01.32) and the fastest time in the semis (1:00.84), but few expected the 23 year-old from Milan to be the fastest 100 meter breaststroker in the finals. Not with world record-holder Roman Sloudnov on one side of him. And not with the USA's Ed Moses, the second fastest man in history, swimming on his other side. Both men, after all, had promised to break the one-minute barrier.
Moses took the lead at the start and turned in 28.60, well ahead of Fioravanti at 28.91 and Sloudnov at 29.23. But the Italian was relentless, catching Moses by the three-quarters mark, then battling with the American head-to-head. The Italian lunged for the wall and came up gold. His time, 1:00.46, made him the third fastest man in history, behind Sloudnov and
Moses. But on this day–the day it counted most–he was the fastest. The win made Fioravanti the first Italian ever to win Olympic gold in swimming.
Moses earned the silver (1:00.73) while Sloudnov took the bronze (1:00.91). Said Moses: "I knew it was going to be a close race. I'm really happy walking away with a silver medal."
Women's 100 Breast Semi-Finals
Top 8 advance to Finals:
1. Poewe RSA 1:07.48
2. Kovacs HUN 1:07.79
3. Quann USA 1:07.79
4. Jones AUS 1:08.03
5. Heyns RSA 1:08.33
6. White AUS 1:08.61
7. Tanaka JPN 1:09.04
8. Gerasch GER 1:09.33
Is there a new South African breaststroke queen? We will find out tomorrow night when newcomer Sarah Poewe tries to stay ahead of world record holder Penny Heyns, Megan Quann of the US, and the youngster from the Aussie squad, 15 year-old Leisel Jones.
Qualifying eighth was former East German, Sylvia Gerasch, 31, the 1986 world champion.
Note: We saw a BIG dolphin kick by Poewe on her last stroke to the wall (on the underwater camera). Will she try it again in finals, and more importantly, will she get away with it?
Men's 100 Back Semi-Finals
Top 8 advancing to Finals:
1. Krayzelburg USA 54.32
2. Welsh AUS 54.52
3. Watson AUS 54.93
4. Theloke GER 54.95
5. Walker USA 55.20
6. Urbach ISR 55.31
7. Kizierowski POL 55.34
8. Driesen GER 55.41
Lenny K. looked in control on his way to winning the second heat and posting the fastest time – still just wearing a normal suit and no cap. Neil Walker
moved up a spot in qualifying to fifth, but Aussies Matt Welsh and Josh Watson still looked strong qualifying second and third. Eitan Urbach became
Israel's first finals qualifier of 2000, posting the sixth fastest time (55.31).
Women's 400 Free Finals
Gold – Bennett USA 4:05.80
Silver – Munz USA 4:07.07
Bronze – Poll CRC 4:07.83
4. Atkinson JAM 4:08.79
5. Tchemezova RUS 4:10.37
6. Stockbauer GER 4:10.38
7. Geurts NED 4:12.36
8. Chen CHN 4:13.11
Americans Brooke Bennett and Diana Munz completed the first 1-2 sweep of the meet. Bennett won from the front, leading wire-to-wire to post a lifetime
best 4:05.80, which makes her the third fastest woman in history behind Janet Evans and China's Chen Hua.
Munz kept a conservative pace over the first 300, then swam down Costa Rica's Claudia Poll and Jamaica's Janelle Atkinson in the last 50 to win the silver.
Poll, the 1996 Olympic champion in the 200 free, is now positioned to repeat in her favorite event. Atkinson fought gamely to become the first-ever
Jamaican Olympic medalist in swimming (they're better known for their prowess in track and bobsled), but just missed. The 2000 US "High School Swimmer of the Year," however, has a very bright future.
Splits for Bennett:
Men's 400 IM FINALS
GOLD – Dolan USA 4:11.76 WORLD RECORD!!!
SILVER – Vendt USA 4:14.23
BRONZE – Myden CAN 4:15.33
4. Boggiatto ITA 4:15.93
5. Parkin RSA 4:16.92
6. Norris AUS 4:17.87
7. Badita ROM 4:20.91
8. Taniguchi JPN 4:20.93
Tom Dolan was focused. The world record-holder, 1994 and '98 world champion and defending Olympic champion had his eyes on the prize. He was determined to make all those 100K weeks of training pay off. And they did.
Dolan showed he meant business by taking the lead right from the start. He led at the end of the fly, his 58.02 just under his six-year-old world record pace (58.28). He led after the back, when he touched in 2:01.12, almost two seconds ahead of world record pace.
Carrying a humungous lead, he was still more than a second-and-a-half ahead of his global pace after the breaststroke. Then he powered home to touch in 4:11.76–the fastest time ever recorded. A jubilant Dolan punched the water, punched the air, then gestured for the roaring crowd to increase its roar. It did.
While Dolan was running away with the race, there was a battle in his wake for the silver. The USA's Erik Vendt, eighth after 50 meters, kept moving up. By 150 meters he was in second place and, despite repeated charges by the rest of a stellar field, he finished in 4:14.23 for the silver. Canada's dogged Curtis Myden was third, completing a North American sweep as top qualifier, Alessio Boggiatto of Italy, was fourth.
Said Dolan: "It's amazing. It was a much better race than in 96. And, completing his Australian hosts who failed to win a medal this evening, he commented: "This (Australia) is the best place in the world for swimming, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
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