By John Lohn
Photos by Peter H. Bick
MONTREAL, Canada, July 31. THERE’S a new queen of the individual medley events and her name is Katie Hoff. Nearly a week after she won the 200 I.M. in the second-fastest time in history, Hoff blew away the competition in the 400 I.M. on Sunday night, setting a championship record of 4:36.07. The swim was a personal-best for Hoff and the second-fastest ever produced by an American.
Hoff was with the pack through the halfway point of the race, but made a major move late in the backstroke portion of the event and surged during the breaststroke leg. By the time the athletes reached the freestyle, the outcome was determined. Hoff continued to pull away as she approached the wall, an exclamation point on her I.M. double.
Swimming out of Lane 8, Kirsty Coventry picked up the silver medal and concluded a fabulous competition. Coventry was timed in 4:39.72, ahead of the 4:40.85 of American Kaitlin Sandeno. At these World Champs, Coventry went for gold in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and earned silver in both I.M. disciplines. Sandeno, the Olympic silver medalist, held off Australia’s Lara Carroll for the bronze. Carroll was clocked in 4:42.25.
Japan’s Maiko Fujino was fifth with a swim of 4:42.68 and finished ahead of Argentina’s Georgina Bardach, who touched in 4:43.60. The seventh and eighth spots were occupied by Hungary’s Eva Risztov (4:43.68) and Zsuzsanna Jakabos (4:44.65). Bardach was the bronze medalist in Athens.