INDIANAPOLIS, October 11. FROM the very first heat of the first round, the men’s 100-meter free shaped up as a battle between the USA’s Jason Lezak and Algeria’s Salim Iles, the 2002 bronze medalist. And though the rest of the field was strong, that’s the way it turned out.
It was a seesaw battle all the way. Iles took the lead on the start and was first to the wall. Lezak overtook him with a good turn only to fall back again just before the halfway turn. At the 50, the Algerian led, 22.52 to 22.64.
Lezak made up the difference on the third lap and the two men flipped together. Once again, Iles emerged ahead after the breakout and with 10 meters to go, Lezak had slipped to third, falling behind France’s Fred Bousquet as well as Iles.
Determined not to repeat his fizzle in the 50, Lezak reached way down and found a reserve of energy. His sprint and a perfectly timed touch gave the two-time Olympian the win in 47.97 to Iles’ 48.07. Canada’s Rick Say charged past Bousquet for the bronze, 48.38 to 48.40.