By John Lohn
Photos by Peter H. Bick
MONTREAL, Canada, July 27. WITH the door wide open, Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski decided to step through. On the other side, he found a world-championship gold medal. Becoming the fourth-fastest man in history, Korzeniowski clocked 1:55.02 and reached the wall more than a half-second ahead of Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda, who picked up silver in 1:55.62.
The fourth-place finisher in the event at the Athens Olympics, Korzeniowski’s chances at gold skyrocketed when Michael Phelps, the two-time defending world champ, decided to skip the event and focus on other races. Still, Korzeniowski had to take advantage of his opportunity. That wasn’t a problem, as he led the entire race.
A finalist in the 400 freestyle, Matsuda posted the second-fastest time in the world this year while China’s Wu Peng was the bronze-medal winner with a mark of 1:56.50. Wu was followed by American Davis Tarwater, who delivered a personal-best effort of 1:56.74. Training with Club Wolverine, Tarwater will leave these World Champs with the knowledge that he can compete on the international stage.
Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov and Japan’s Ryuichi Shibata shared fifth in 1:57.04 and Germany’s Helge Meeuw placed seventh with a performance of 1:57.67. Greece’s Ioannis Drymonakos completed the field in eighth after touching the pads in 1:57.71.