1999 Pan Pacific Championships: Day 4


By Stephen J. Thomas

The Aussie 800m freestyle relay annihilated their existing world record by more than 3 seconds. Thorpe as part of the team has broken a world record on each night of this meet!!! Tom Malchow (US) swam the 2nd fastest 200 fly in history and Susie O’Neill (AUS) closes on Mary T’s 200 fly world mark in the semi-finals.

The talk around the pool late last night was whether Ian Thorpe would lead off for the Aussies in the 800m freestyle relay in an attempt to break his 4th individual world record in four days. Thorpe didn’t quite make it but managed 1:46.28, the second fastest time behind his record in the individual event last night. The biggest crowd of the week got behind the home team to will them below the 7:10 mark for the first time.

Men’s 800m Freestyle Relay Final
The Australia team of Ian Thorpe, Bill Kirby, Grant Hackett and Michael Klim were more than three seconds under the record they set at last year’s Commonwealth Games in an amazing 7:08.79. Hackett and Kirby replaced Daniel Kowalski and Matthew Dunn from last year’s team. Kowalski is recovering from a shoulder injury while Dunn lost a swim-off to make the team in the morning. Kirby had already swum in the 200 fly earlier in the evening. Such is the strength of Australian men’s swimming at present that they beat the USA by just under eight seconds. The splits for the world record were:
1:46.28 Thorpe, 3:35.24 Kirby (1:48.96), 5:21.54 Hackett (1:46.30), 7:08.79 Klim (1:47.25)
Previous Record: 1:47.48 Thorpe, 3:35.29 Kowalski (1:47.81), 5:24.44 Dunn (1:49.15), 7:11.86 Klim (1:47.42)

Hackett put in an excellent split despite not being “100%”. “I wanted to do it for the boys and Australia,” he said. Klim felt the team could improve further, “hopefully we can do it all again next year,” which brought more cheers from an adoring crowd.

The US team of Chad Carvin (1:48.67), Josh Davis (1:47.66), Tom Malchow (1:51.43) and Uger Taner (1:48.90) claimed the silver in 7:16.66 was well outside the previous meet record of 7:13.99 they set in 1997. The Canadian team of Johnston, Say, Lupiens and Johns were third in 7:23.26.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Final
American Tom Malchow swam the second fastest 200m fly in history going within 0.19 of the world record held by Russian Denis Pankratov and in doing so breaking Melvin Stewart’s national record set at the 1991 World Championships in Perth. He won by almost 2 seconds from Takashi Yamamoto of Japan (1:57.33) and teammate Ugur Tanner (1:57.82). Aussies Bill Kirby (1:58.53) and Greg Shaw (1:58.98) were next to touch, both recording personal bests. Malchow started a little slowly and as the world record comparison shows was below the mark until the last 50m.

Pankratov 0.25.61 0.55.61 1:25.51 1:55.22
Malchow 0.26.13 0.55.29 1:24.98 1.55.41

Malchow said after the race he had been nervous and hadn’t slept too well. “I tried to relax and felt that if it (the record) happens it happens. Now I have something to keep shooting for, keep me focused for when I come back next year.”

Women’s 200m Freestyle Final
Lindsey Benko (USA) led the fastest qualifier Susie O’Neill (AUS) until the 150m mark where the Australian pulled away to win by a body length in 1:58.17, a new national record and place her as the 9th all-time top performer. Benko finished second in a personal best 1:59.60 with teammate Ellen Stonebraker also swimming a PB of 2:00.46 to take the bronze. Then followed Suzu Chiba of Japan (2:00.46), ahead of young Aussie backstroke specialist Giaan Rooney (2:00.60) who improved her PB by 1.5 seconds and a tiring Claudia Poll from Costa Rica (2:01.26)

O’Neill said after the race, she hadn’t liked this race in the past but was “getting to like it now!”

Women’s 200 Individual Medley Final
Tomoko Hagiwara of Japan lead the field from Overton (AUS) and Limpert (CAN) with the favorite Joanne Malar of Canada biding her time until the breaststroke leg where she moved quickly through the field and put a body length between herself and the fast finishing freestyle swimmer Cristina Teuscher (USA). Malar won the race in a new Commonwealth record time of 2:13.63 from Teuscher (2:14.31) and Eli Overton of Australia (2:14.51). A veteran of the Aussie team, Overton’s broke her own national record set at the Pan Pacs in Atlanta in 1995. Tomoko Hagiwara finished fourth in 2:14.70.

Malar said she was not concerned she had been behind in the first half of the race and had focused on what she had to do. She was very pleased to have taken out the medley double and described this week as “the most incredible meet I’ve been to in my life”

Men’s 200m Breaststroke Preliminaries
Qualifiers for tomorrow night’s final were:
Simon Cowley (AUS) 2:13.21
Regan Harrison (AUS) 2:13.78 PB
Tom Wilkins (USA) 2:14.04
Kurt Grote (USA) 2:15.19
Terence Parkin (RSA) 2:15.26
Akira Hayashi (JAP) 2:15.34
Elvin Chia (MAS) 2:16.90

Did not qualify due to the 2 swimmers per country rule:
Ryan Mitchell (AUS) 2:14.67

Women’s 200m Butterfly Preliminaries
After winning the 200m freestyle final earlier in the evening, Susie O’Neill improved her personal best in swimming 2:06.53 in the semi-final. She is now only 0.53 outside the Mary T Meagher’s world record. In recent times she has been under the 18 year-old record in the early part of her race and fading towards the end. Tonight she felt good after her freestyle swim and “stronger than usual in the 2nd half”. She was almost four seconds ahead of the other qualifiers.

Jessica Deglau (CAN) 2:10.45
Misty Hyman (USA) 2:10.45
Maki Mita (JAP) 2:11.36
Molly Freeman (USA) 2:11.63 PB
Ayari Aoyama (JAP) 2:11.81
Amanda Loots (RSA) 2:13.42
Andrea Schwartz (CAN) 2:13.83

Men’s 100m Freestyle Preliminaries
Michael Klim (AUS) is the clear favorite for tomorrow night’s final qualifying in 48.81.

Chris Fydler (AUS) 49.62
Neil Walker (USA) 49.70
Brock Newman (USA) 49.94 PB
Yannick Lupien (CAN) 50.34
Nick Folker (RSA) 50.72
Shunsuke Ito (JAP) 50.90
Salim Iles (ALG) 51.47

Ian Thorpe (AUS) 49.71 (Missed his first final as the third fastest Australian) Americans Jason Lezak (50.11) and Bryan Jones (50.23) also missed the final for this reason.

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