VICTORIA, British Columbia, Aug. 17. Swimming World Magazine’s Female National High School Swimmer of the Year Kate Ziegler made a tremendous run at Janet Evans’s 18-year-old world record of 15:52.10 in the 1500-meter freestyle set in 1988 at Orlando, but came up a scant three seconds short of the global standard at the 2006 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships on Thursday.
Overall, Ziegler provided the bookend to four consecutive record-setting performances to finish the first night of competition at Pan Pacs. Following Aaron Peirsol’s meet-record in the 100 back and the pair of sterling world records in the 200 butterfly events by Jessicah Schipper and Michael Phelps, Ziegler surpassed the meet record of 16:04.84 previously held by Australian Hayley Lewis since 1992 with a 15:55.01 effort.
Meanwhile, Ziegler’s American teammate Hayley Peirsol fed off her brother’s performance en route to a silver-winning time of 15:57.36.
Peirsol provided the impetus for Ziegler's terrific swim as she actually overtook Ziegler at the 1300-meter mark 13:49.35 to 13:49.48. Ziegler, however, returned fire over the next 50 meters to retake the lead for good at 14:21.20 to 14:21.42 at the 1350-meter touch.
“I like to take it out fast, so I went out fast, but with Hayley there, I couldn’t let my guard down,” Ziegler said. “I really think it's great to have three Americans as the top three of all time. To continue such an amazing tradition of distance swimming is great."
Japan’s Ai Shibata closed out a terrific day of swimming for her country with a bronze-medal 16:11.13.
At the end of the first day of competition, the United States tied with Japan for the number of medals at eight. The U.S., however, owned the most top-heavy haul with six golds and two silvers. Meanwhile, Japan tallied a gold, two silvers and five bronzes. Australia sat a distant third with three (1G, 1S, 1B) medals.