1999 Pan Pacific Championships: Day 3


By Stephen J. Thomas

The media keep asking the swimmers, what they think of the Sydney Olympic pool? And the swimmers reply by breaking world records – six so far! This is a fast pool no doubt about it but it has been open for five years. It’s more about the amazing energy that is created when records are broken at a big meet. It gives those that have been planning to break records the motivation to be part of that energy. But let’s go to the records…

Men’s 100m Backstroke Final
American Lenny Krayzelburg had said he wanted this world record at this meet and that’s what he got! He was in a class of his own. He led the field by more than half a second when he turned in 25.97 (well under the world split of 26.32) and cut through the water to touch in 53.60, an amazing 0.26 of a second under the seven-year-old world record held by fellow American Jeff Rouse. After the race he expressed surprise at how far under the record he had gone.

“That was my goal – to set a world record but I kind of surprised myself here. It’s an awesome pool – definitely the best I’ve raced in. I’m really looking forward to coming back next year.”

It’s really great to swim in front of this crowd because they really understand the sport of swimming – even though they don’t cheer for me, having them here brings the best out in me.’

He felt confident he would break the 200 backstroke WR later in the week. “The 200 back is my race,” he said. The two minor placings when to the Aussies. Matt Welsh cut a further 0.29 off the Australian record he set in the semi-final to finish in 55.13, just ahead of Josh Watson who took 0.66 off his PB also set the previous day. Bobby Brewer (US) was fourth in 55.39

Men’s 200m Freestyle Final
Thorpe and Klim head-to-head. Thorpe knew he would have to stay with his teammate in the early stages of the race and unleash that powerful ‘size sixteen’ kick to draw away in the second half of the race. Klim lead American Josh Davis and Thorpe at the 50m, Thorpe moved past both at the 100m, Klim stayed with him until the 150m and then the “Thorpedo” found a new world mark: 1:46.00. He had taken another 0.34 off his preliminary time, his third world record in three days!!! His early speed can be seen in comparing his splits over the two days:
Semi-final: 25.03 52.50 1:19.35 1:46.34
Final 24.92 52.01 1:18.95 1:46.00

Thorpe was asked does it get any better than this? “I don’t think so. I don’t think I’ll experience it for a long time. I’d never have believed I’d be able to do this and now that I have it was all worth it.”

The steadily improving Ryk Neethling of South Africa came home over the top of the Americans Carvin (1:48.60) and Davis (1:48.98) to set his fifth consecutive national record in 1:48.17.

Women’s 100m Backstroke Final
A big surprise here. Dyana Calub, the 24-year-old Aussie that only qualified in lane 2 after improving her personal best by over half a second, cut a further 0.91 from he time to dead-heat for first with world number two, Mai Nakamura. Both swimmers clocked 1:01.51 after some nervous minutes following a malfunction between the touchpad and the electronic scoreboard. Better performed over 50 meters, Calub broke the seven year-old Australian record held by Nicole Stevenson and rocketed her to 4th in the world this year. Popular American BJ Bedford was not far behind at the finish to record 1:01.76 and edge out top ranked Japanese Noriko Inada by 0.03 of a second.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Final
South African Penny Heyns when into the final as hot favorite and a chance to again lower the world mark she set in the heats. Her winning time of 1:07.08 was the sixth best all-time swim. After the race she said, “I can’t say I’m disappointed in my time so much but obviously I was hoping to go a little faster. So far I’ve had a brilliant month of racing. Each race is an opportunity to learn something. I made a couple of little mistakes tonight that made the difference.”

American Megan Quann swam a PB (1:08.54) to beat teammate Kristy Kowal (1:08.56) for the silver medal. Sam Riley of Australia was next in 1:09.21.

Women’s 200m freestyle Semi-finals
Aussie Susie O’Neill (1:59.88) was the fastest qualifier and the only swimmer to go under the two-minute mark. Lindsey Benko (2:00.31) and Ellen Stonebraker (2:00.52) were the two best Americans to qualify along with Suzu Chiba (2:00.53) from Japan and Claudia Poll (2:00.76) of Costa Rica.

Women’s 200 Individual Medley Semi-finals
Joanne Malar of Canada was the top qualifier in 2:13.95 followed by:
Tomoko Hagiwara (JPN) 2:14.79
Cristina Teuscher (USA) 2:15.11
Maddy Crippen (USA) 2:15.33
Marianne Limpert (CAN) 2:15.76
Elli Overton (AUS) 2:16.24
Lori Munz (AUS) 2:16.61
Yasuko Tajima (JAP) 2:17.39

Men’s 200m Butterfly Preliminaries
Tom Malchow (US) swam a new meet record of 1:55.76, placing him third on the all-time best performers. He was almost two seconds ahead of the rest of the qualifiers.

Ugur Taner (USA) 1:57.68
Takashi Yamamoto (JAP) 1:58.74
Bill Kirby (AUS) 1:58.33 PB
Xufeng Xie (CHN) 1:59.11
Hisayoshi Tanaka (JAP) 1:59.14
Greg Shaw (AUS) 1:59.19
Przemyslav Pietucha (CAN) 1:59.28

Aussie Scott Goodman pulled out of the meet with an injury.

Stephen J. Thomas, former editorial consultant of Australian Swimming and Fitness Magazine, is Swimming World’s Australian correspondent.