1999 Pan Pacific Championships: Day 5


By Stephen J. Thomas

It looked for a while tonight that we would see a day of competition go by without a world record being broken. Susie O’Neill, the favorite of the Australian crowd, again fell short of Mary T’s 200 fly record. Penny Heyns, the South African, did not have the expectation of a home crowd on her back. In fact she said after the event her aim was; “to have fun and enjoy every bit of the race for what it was.” Indeed it was her sixth world record swim in six weeks and making it a “pair” for the meet. Interestingly, both of her records this week have gone in the preliminary races, as did two in LA last month.

On the night it was a contrast in personalities. O’Neill who has performed to the highest standard this week clearly showed signs of self-doubt after the race. She felt there was not too much pressure on her, but her coach Scott Volkers, felt that this might have been the case. Heyns spoke of working to achieve a spiritual balance that allows her to enjoy her God given talent.

Women’s 200m Butterfly Final
Susie O’Neill had the race to herself winning in 2:06.60 just 0.07 seconds over her Championship record set in the semi-final. She was more than three seconds faster than her nearest rivals Jessica Deglau of Canada (2:10.27) and American Misty Hyman (2:10.40). That wasn’t enough for O’Neill. When asked if she was disappointed with her swim, she replied, “I think it will come if I really try for it but I really tried for it tonight … it worked against me.” O’Neill who was recently voted the most popular Australian sportswoman in a reader survey conducted by Australia’s leading sporting magazine, Inside Sport.

Coach Volkers made some important comments on her performance. “She should have broken it last night. She went a bit soft on the first hundred … she went fast in the 200 free and that made it a bit difficult. We learnt another lesson.”

She obviously wanted it very badly tonight. I could see in the first 25 that it was probably not going to be simply because her stroke rate was too high. You’ve got to take it easy … I guess that’s the pressure and that’s what she has got to learn. She is in the best shape of her career, there’s no doubt about that.”

Women’s 200m Breaststroke Preliminaries
Penny Heyns (RSA) having broken Sam Riley’s Championship record in the morning heats came out in the second semi-final “to enjoy herself”. She did that and broke her own month-old world record in the process much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd. The record split was
0:33.24 1:10.58 1:47.91 2:24.42
0:33.30 1:10.64 1:48.13 2:24.51 Los Angeles July 17, 1999

Heyns said after the race, “with all the world records in the last week, I was just sort of getting to the stage where I felt the pressure of having to set another one. The focus tonight was to be really relaxed and to have fun, to enjoy every bit of that race for what it was. Whatever I come out with was just a bonus.”

The other qualifiers were:
Kristy Kowal (USA) 2:26.11PB
Sarah Poewe (RSA) 2:28.41
Sam Riley (AUS) 2:28.47
Masami Tanaka (JAP) 2:28.47
Ayumi Shirata (JAP) 2:29.62
Jenna Street (USA) 2:29.96
Caroline Hildreth (AUS) 2:30.91

Men’s 100m Freestyle Final
Australian Michael Klim was the clear favorite for this race after setting a Championship record leading off in the relay earlier in the meet. Klim went out hard and when he turned 0.25 under Russian Alex Popov’s world record split of 23.33 there was some expectation he would get close to his training partner’s world record. American Neil Walker (23.38) stayed with Klim and was close by at the turn. The last ten meters proved hard work for Klim, finishing in 48.98, a little slower than his qualifying time. Walker finished in a PB of 49.17 ahead of Aussie Chris Fydler, who also swam a personal best of 49.42. Yannick Lupien of Canada also was under the 50-second mark in 49.94.

Klim said after the race he was really hurting at the finish. He would have liked to have gone faster but was happy to have swum another time under 49 seconds.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke Final
Tom Wilkens of the United States lead out strongly with Terence Parkin (RSA). At the 100m mark Kurt Grote (USA) moved into 3rd place with Aussie Simon Cowley (AUS) swimming steadily in 4th place. Cowley started to move forward in the second half of the race moving in to equal second with Parkin. Cowley was still over half a second behind Wilkens at the 150m mark but the fastest qualifier came home strongly win in a new Australian time of 2:12.98. Wilkens held on for the silver in 2:13.97and Parkin, the nineteen year-old deaf swimmer, taking the bronze in a new national record of 2:14.12.

Cowley, who took out the breaststroke double said of his swim, “I’m pretty happy (to go under 2:13), I would have liked to have gone a bit quicker, but you know I will have another opportunity next year”.

Women’s 800m Freestyle Relay Final
The United States team took the lead from the first leg thanks to an excellent swim of 1:58.86 by Lindsey Benko (3rd best American all-time) and was never challenged although the Australian girls pushed the US team to a new Championship record of 7:57.61. The Aussies finished second in 8:00.67 wall ahead of their Commonwealth rivals Canada in 8:06.86. Teams were:
Lindsey Benko
Ellen Stonebraker
Jenny Thompson
Cristina Teuscher

Giaan Rooney
Rebecca Creedy
Lori Munz
Susie O’Neill

Jessica Deglau
Joanne Malar
Marianne Limpert
Laura Nicholls

Women’s 100m Freestyle Preliminaries
Qualifiers for tomorrow nights final were:
Jenny Thompson (USA) 26.83 55.48
Sarah Ryan (AUS) 27.09 55.99
Suzu Chiba (JPN) 27.39 56.36
Claudia Poll (CRC) 27.66 56.45
Liesl Kolbisen (USA) 27.35 56.48
Rebecca Creedy (AUS) 27.63 56.50
Charlene Whittstock (RSA) 27.15 56.85
Laura Nicholls (CAN) 27.43 56.95

Men’s 200m Backstroke Preliminaries
American Lenny Krayzelburg indicated prior to his warm-up that he was aiming to go a 1:58 in the semi-final then go all-out in the final. He was under world record pace for three laps then in the last 50m slowed noticeably, maintaining his form to the wall to break his own championship record. His splits were: (WR splits in brackets)
27.52 57.01 1:27.21 1:57.41*NCR
(28.29) (58.08) (1:27.50) 1:56.57

The other qualifiers were:
Ray Hass (AUS) 1:59.08 Australian &Commonwealth Record
Cameron Delaney (AUS) 2:00.43 PB
Brad Bridgewater (USA) 2:00.46
Keitaro Konnai (JAP) 2:00 53
Chris Renaud (CAN) 2:01.38
Scott Talbot-Cameron (NZL) 2:01.44
Dustin Hersee (CAN) 2:01.53
Naoya Sonoda (JAP) 2:01.53

Men’s 200m Individual Medley Preliminaries
Curtis Myden (CAN) qualified fastest for tomorrow night’s final in a solid 2:02.38. The best Australian performance came from Grant McGregor who qualified second in 2:02.65 more than two seconds better than his PB coming into this meet.

The other qualifiers were:
Tom Wilkens (USA) 2:02.78
Matt Dunn (AUS) 2:02.87
Ron Karnaugh (USA) 2:03.36
Terence Parkin (RSA) 2:03.36* National record
Theo Verster (RSA) 2:03.60
Xufeng Xie (CHN) 2:04.01

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