VICTORIA, British Columbia, Aug. 20. KATE Ziegler, Swimming World Magazine’s Female National High School Swimmer of the Year, made it a clean sweep of the distance freestyle events at the 2006 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships on Sunday. After battling with countrywoman Hayley Peirsol throughout the initial 300 meters, Ziegler continued to stretch her lead before touching in 8:24.56 for the win in the 800-meter freestyle.
Earlier in the meet, Ziegler took a run at Janet Evans’ 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 to surpass the meet record of 16:04.84 previously held by Australian Hayley Lewis since 1992 with a 15:55.01 effort.
Japan’s Ai Shibata came barreling by Peirsol to claim the silver medal in 8:26.41, while Peirsol stopped the clock in 8:27.57 for bronze. After trailing by a second at the 700-meter mark, Shibata nearly made that distance up in the next 50 meters to trail Peirsol by .57 seconds. She then powered by Peirsol in the final 50 to beat the American by more than a second.