By Phillip Whitten and Michael Collins
SYDNEY, September 16. WORLD records fell in all four final events on the first night of competition at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. In fact, five world marks fell in the four events.
Women's 400 IM – FINALS
GOLD – Klochkova UKR 4:33.59 WORLD RECORD!
SILVER – Tajima JPN 4:35.96
BRONZE – Caslaru ROM 4:37.18
4. Sandeno USA 4:41.03
5. Hetzer GER 4:43.56
6. Crippen USA 4:44.68
7. Malar CAN 4:45.17
8. Reilly AUS 4:45.99
Ukraine's Yana Klochkova blitzed the women's 400 meter individual medley mark in the first event, her 4:33.59 eclipsing China's Chen Yan's mark of 4:34.79 set at the Chinese City Games in October 1997. It also erased the 20 year-old Olympic mark of 4:36.29 set by East Germany's Petra Schneider at the 1980 Moscow Games.
Klochkova took the lead from the start and never relinquished it, though Japan's Yasuko Tajima kept the pressure on all the way and finished in 4:35.96, making her the third fastest woman in history.
"I wasn't expecting it; it was my dream," said Klochkova. "I had a dream before, I was watching myself from the outside and I was winning."
Tajima expressed disappointment on her silver medal swim. "I lost my confidence," she said. I really wanted to have a gold medal."
Romania's Beatrice Coada-Caslaru came storming from fifth place at the 200 meter mark, splitting 1:16.36 on her breaststroke leg, to finish third in 4:37.18.
"I am very happy and I dedicate this win to my family and my club."
The USA's Kaitlin Sandeno, third through 150 meters, finished fourth (4:41.03), while Maddy Crippen was sixth (4:44.63).
Klochkova's splits: fly: 1:01.62; back: 1:09.68; breast-1:19.33; free-1:02.96.
Men's 400 Free – FINALS
GOLD – Thorpe AUS 3:40.59 WORLD RECORD!!!
SILVER – Rosolino ITA 3:43.40
BRONZE – Keller USA 3:47.00 American Record
4. Brembilla ITA 3:47.01
5. Coman ROM 3:47.38
6. Carvin USA 3:47.58
7. Hackett AUS 3:48.22
8. Neethling RSA 3:48.52
The 400 free was to be the first test for Australia's wunderkid, Ian Thorpe. And, to the chant of "Thorpie, Thorpie, Thorpie," the 17 year-old with the size-17 feet, gave the crowd everything it was yearning for: a new world record.
Thorpe opened up full second lead on the first 50 meters, splitting 24.88 to teammate Grant Hackett's 25.92. At 100 meters, the Thorpedo turned in 52.64, with hackett second in 53.70 and Italy's Massi Rosolino third in 54.40.
Thorpe burned through 200 meters in 1:48.86, with Rosolino taking over second (1:50.23) from a fading Hackett. The teen sensation just kept building his lead, splitting 2:45.09 at the 300 before touching home in 3:40.59. The time erased his world mark of 3:41.33 set in May of this year as well as the Olympic record (3:44.65) set earlier today during prelims.
"It was great with my home team, my home crowd. Thank you, Sydney; thank you, Australia; thank you, everyone," he said. Later the national hero was embraced by Dawn Fraser, the 1956, '60 and '64 100 meter freestyle Olympic champion, and an Australian national treasure.
Rosolino had a fantastic swim, though it was all but forgotten in the hometown jubilation over Thorpe's record. The Italian finished in 3:43.40, making him the second fastest man in history.
The USA's Klete Keller came storming from last place at the 200 (1:53.82) to wrest the bronze in 3:47.00, an American record, and one-hundredth ahead of Italy's Emiliano Brembilla.
Thorpe's splits: 52.64, 56.22, 56.23, 55.50
Rosolino's splits: 54.00, 56.23, 56.41, 56.76
Keller's splits: 55.54, 58.28, 57.47, 55.72
Women's 100 Fly – Semi-Finals
Top 8 Qualifiers for the finals:
1. De Bruijn NED 57.14 Olympic Record
2. Thomas AUS 58.11
3. Thompson USA 58.18
4. Torres USA 58.35
5. Maravcova SVK 58.49
6. Onishi JPN 59.04
7. O'Neill AUS 59.05
8. Mocanu ROM 59.12
Holland's flying Dutchwoman, Inky De Bruijn, asserted her dominance in the women's 100 fly semis, breaking the Olympic mark of 57.60 she set in prelims with a strong 57.14. Australia's Petria Thomas was the second fastest qualifier (58.11), while Jenny Thompson, who won the first of two semi final heats, qualified third in (58.18). Those three women, along with Dara Torres (58.35) and Martina Moravcova (58.49), will make tomorrow's final an awesome race.
All eight qualifiers for final beat Amy Van Dyken's winning time from 1996.
Men's 100 Breast – Semi-Finals
Top 8 Qualifiers For the Finals:
1. Fioravanti ITA 1:00.84
2. Sloudnov RUS 1:01.15
3. Moses USA 1:01.22
4. Kitajima JPN 1:01.31
5. Petersen RSA 1:01.42
6. Malek CZE 1:01.60
7. Knabe CAN 1:01.70
8. Luetolf SUI 1:01.80
Italy's Domenico Fioravanti, who had the fastest time in prelims, posted a national record 1:00.84 to lead the semi finals tonight, as less than a second separate the eight finalists.
Russia's Roman Sloudnov, the world record-holder (1:00.36) was second in 1:01.15, while America's Ed Moses was third fastest qualifier (1:01.22).
Women's 4 x 100 Free Relay – FINAL
GOLD – United States 3:36.61 WORLD RECORD!!!
(Old Mark 3:37.91 – China 1994)
SILVER – Netherlands 3:39.83
BRONZE – Sweden 3:40.30
4. Germany 3:40.31
5. Great Britain 3:40.54
6. Australia 3:40.91
7. Canada 3:42.82
8. Italy 3:44.49
The USA women's 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team of Amy Van Dyken, Dara Torres, Courtney Shealy and Jenny Thompson, left no doubt that they are the best team the world has ever seen, swimming 3:36.61 to destroy the world mark of 3:37.91 set by China at the World Championships in Rome in 1994. The time also destroyed the Olympic mark of 3:39.29 set by the 1996 US Olympic Team.
Van Dyken got the US out to a strong start with a 55.08 split, second only to Australia's Susie O'Neill's 54.79. After that, it was all Red, White and Blue.
Torres followed Van Dyken with a 53.51 split, followed by Shealy's 54.40 and J.T.'s 53.62.
Holland, anchored by Inge De Bruijn's 53.41–the fastest split in history- set a European mark in finishing second in 3:39.83.
Sweden, sparked by Therese Alshammar's 53.78, clocked 3:40.30, edging Germany by one-hundredth of a second for the bronze.
With the American victory, Jenny Thompson picked up her tenth Olympic medal, making her the most successful American woman in Olympic history–in any sport.
Men's 4 x 100 Free Relay – FINALS
GOLD – Australia 3:13.67 WORLD RECORD!!!
(Old Mark 3:15.11 USA – 1995)
SILVER – United States 3:13.86 American Record
BRONZE – Brazil 3:17.77
4. Germany 3:17.77
5. Italy 3:17.85
6. Sweden 3:19.60
7. France 3:21.00
8. Russia DQ
The 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay: This was to be the Showdown, the battle between the two men's swimming superpowers that would set the momentum for the rest of the Olympic Games.
In Lane 4 was the champion, the USA–undefeated in Olympic history in this event and the fastest qualifier in 3:15.43, just 32-hundredths shy of the world mark. In Lane 5 was the brash challenger, Australia, hoping to ride a wave of emotion to the top of the victory stand.
The race was a seesaw battle that saw the lead change hands several times and gave the crowd its money's worth.
Michael Klim gave the Home Team an incredible boost when he broke the 100 meter freestyle mark held by his training partner, Alex Popov, with a monstrous 48.18. Splitting 22.83 at the 50, Klim was just too much for American rookie, Anthony Ervin, to handle, though Ervin clocked a personal best of 48.89, making him the third fastest American in history.
Neil Walker (48.31) took the lead for the US two-thirds of the way through his leg, but Australia's Chris Fydler (48.48) came storming back to regain the lead for Australia at the exchange.
In the third leg, the same thing happened: the USA's Jason Lezak (48.42)took the lead from the Aussies on the first lap, but Ashley Callus (48.71), took it right back coming home. With only the anchor swimmers to go, Australia took off with a quarter-second margin, as each nation went to its biggest gun: Gary Hall and Ian Thorpe.
Hall split 22.47 for his first 50 to Thorpie's 23.34, giving the US a sixth-tenths of a second lead with only 50 meters to go. But the Australian teen was relentless, narrowing Hall's lead with every stroke. As they swam under the flags with five meters left, Thorpe took the lead, and he jammed the wall in 3:13.67, a new world record. Hall touched a fraction of a second behind in 3:13.86, the second fastest time in history.
Hall split 48.24 to Thorpe's 48.30.
Brazil took the bronze in 3:17.40, just edging Germany (3;17.77) and Italy (3:17.85). Russia, which clocked 3:18.02, was disqualified. In prelims, Holland, which same a Hoogie-less 3:18.32, was disqualified. With van den Hoogenband, the Dutch probably would have swum 3:16.
For more stories and photos visit the CBS OLYMPIC SWIMMING SITE.
For a full listing of prelim and final results visit the CBS OLYMPIC SWIMMING RESULTS.
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