BEIJING, Aug. 24. FAST-RISING Peter Marshall led a one-two US sweep of the men's 100 meter backstroke today at the World University Games at Tsinghua Natatorium in Beijing.
Marshall led all the way, splitting 26.63 at the 50 to win easily in a lifetime best 54.74 seconds, a Games record and a time that would have won him a bronze at the 2000 Olympics. Todd Smolinski was second in 55.94 (27.02 at the 50) to complete the US sweep.
Marshall's time makes him the fifth fastest American of all-time and jumps him to ninth on the all-time world list.
"I'm very pleased with my swim, and even more happy to have won the first gold for the Americans," Marshall said. "It was even better that Todd got the silver. After the relay last night, we felt we really needed a strong surge from our team."
"With Peter setting the record in the semis, I felt like the pressure was off me," said Smolinski. "I was pleased with my swim, and extremely happy to have won a medal for my country."
The US wasn't the only country notching a one-two sweep. Italy, which took the men's 4x200m free relay yesterday, swept the top two places in the men's 200m breast today, as Davide Rummolo just out-touched his teammate, Michele Vancini, 2:14.98 to 2:15.00.
Ukraine's Igor Chervynskiy won an exciting 800m freestyle race, just edging Japan's Shunichi Fujita with a Games record 7:59.52. The USA's Brendan Neligan, who won an earlier heat in 8:02.18, won the bronze.
"It was hard to watch tonight's heat knowing that I could medal, but it was out of my hands," said Neligan in the post-medal ceremony press conference. "I'm very pleased that my time held up and that I was able to win a medal."
The men's 50 fly was about as close as it could be, with Japan's Kohei Kawamoto and Australia's Burl Reid tying for the gold in 24.31 seconds.
The USA picked up its second gold medal of the day when the women's 4 x 200m freestyle relay team fought off a surprising challenge by Japan to win in 8:10.68 to Japan's 8:11.34.
The US team was composed of Sarah Tolar (2:02.58),
Rachel Komisarz (2:02.36), Monica Williams (2:03.60) and Kim Black (2:02.14).
"We're all very happy to be here competing together, and even happier that we were able to get a gold medal for our country," said Black.
Germany's Petra Dallmann took the 100 free in 55.73, just ahead of China's Han Xue (55.81), with the USA's Jennifer Crisman finishing third in a PB 56.50.
"The backstroke is actually my best event," said Crisman. "But when you swim for your country, you want to do really well, and I think that motivated me to swim so fast to get the bronze."
In semifinal action, Tara Kirk was the top qualifier in the 100m breast, swimming a 1:09.85 (32.49). Kristen Woodring swam a 1:11.34 (32.80) to put her tenth.
Bethany Goodwin lowered her morning swim time to a 27.30 in the 50m fly to remain the top qualifier, her time setting the third WUG record of the day. Rachel Komisarz posted a 27.64, advancing her to the finals in the fourth position.
Susan Woessner and Jennifer Crisman both advanced to the finals of the 100m backstroke. Woessner swam a 1:03.50 (30.93) to advance third, with Crisman going 1:03.87 (31.51) to qualify fifth.
Katie Yevak quaified fourth in the 200m IM, advancing to the finals. Her time of 2:17.51 was split 29.39, 1:05.16 and 1:43.72. Corrie Clark touched in 2:19.90 to finish 12th (30.41, 1:06.95, 1:45.72).
Matt Macedo swam a 50.77 (24.14) in the 100m free to finish tenth with teammate Kicker Vencill right behind in 50.95 (24.67).
1. Petra Dallmann (GER) 55.73
2. Han Xue (CHN) 55.81
3. Jennifer Crisman (USA) 56.50
4 X 200m Freestyle Relay
1. USA 8:10.68
2. JAPAN 8:11.34
3, CHINA 8:14.13
1. Peter Marshall (USA) 54.74 CR
2. Todd Smolinski (USA) 55.94
3. Vladimir Nikolaychuk (UKR) 56.12
1. Kohei Kawamoto (JPN) 24.31
1. Burl Reid (AUS) 24.31
3. Igor Martchenko (RUS) 24.40
1. Davide Rummolo (ITA) 2:14.98
2. Michele Vancini (ITA) 2:15.00
3. Tony De Pellegrini (FRA) 2:15.36
1. Igor Chervynskiy (UKR) 7:59.52 CR
2. Shunichi Fujita (JPN) 8:00.16
3. Brendan Neligan (USA) 8:02.18