SWIMNEWS ONLINE: August 1996 Magazine Articles

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Andrei Korneev, RUS, took the early lead, touching first at the 50. Karoly Guttler, HUN, was in second and Norbert Rozsa, HUN, right behind in third.

They maintained the same order at the 100. Korneev held the lead until the 150 with Rozsa making his move and increasing his stroke rate.

With 25 m to go Rozsa overtook Korneev. Guttler moved into second as Korneev held on for third.

Norbert Rozsa won the silver in this event in 1992, and the gold at the Worlds in 1994.

Hungary's Norbert Rozsa won gold in hard fought battle
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

A Hungarian sweep of the first two places is not unprecedented. It was done first in 1980 when Sandor Wladar and Zoltan Verraszto went 1-2 in the 200 back at the Moscow Olympics.

For Rozsa it was an emotional day. After missing finals in the 100, where he was one of the favourites, he needed all the help he could get from his coach Tamas Szechy. "I was not ready for the 100. He helped me a great deal to get it together for the 200. Without him it would not have been possible. He taught me so many things, especially mental strength and longevity in the sport."

"When I swam the 100 I was not ready emotionally. There have been a number of things that upset me prior to coming to Atlanta. I don't wish to elaborate further. I was mentally tired for the 100."

"The 100 is more of a strength event, while the 200 is an endurance event and I showed that in my last 50."

Karoly Guttler, HUN, the silver medallist, has been battling fellow Hungarian Rozsa for all of his career. They are not particularly amicable. They train in rival clubs and meet only on the podium at major international competitions.

Guttler was disappointed with his silver. "I swam in the last three Olympics, winning my first silver in 1988, and again in Barcelona. I am disappointed now, but it's been a wonderful four years. I would have liked to win a gold in the 200 as that's the only one missing from my collection. I'd like to dedicate this medal to all the wonderful people who helped me and stood by me every day."

Andrei Korneev, RUS, lead the race after he set a torrid pace throughout, faltering at the finish. "This competition is not really working out well for me. The whole season has been somewhat off for me. Before the race I began to feel very confident and in the race I gave it all. When I got to the last 50 I couldn't give it any more. I couldn't move my arms and legs. But I know I gave it 100 percent effort. I think it's not too bad for my first Games. Overall it was a good swim."

How the race was split: 
Rozsa 30.36 1:03.93 1:38.17 2:12.57
Guttler 30.33 1:04.17 1:38.84 2:13.03
Korneev 29.86 1:03.51 1:37.96 2:13.17
Gillingham 30.47 1:04.67 1:39.37 2:14.37

After the prelims the top seeds missing the final were Japan's Akira Hayashi, (2:13.60 seed) and 100 breast winner Fred deBurghgraeve (2:14.01 seed).


Michelle Smith, IRL, with a faster turnover took the lead at the 50.

At the 100 Smith increased the lead to half a body length. On the breaststroke Li Lin, CHN, moved into the lead, with Smith falling to fourth.

On the freestyle leg, Smith overtook Li Lin to win her third gold. Marianne Limpert, CAN, in a strong finish moved to second, and Lin hung on to the bronze.

Li Lin was the defending champion from Barcelona.

Limpert bettered her national record for the second time today. The second Canadian Joanne Malar, finished fourth.

Michelle Smith heading home to a third gold medal
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Michelle Smith considered pulling out from the finals, to rest up for the 200 fly on the final day. "Had I seen some really fast times in the morning I really would have considered pulling out, but once I saw all the times I knew that I had a good chance in the finals. There was no way I was going to pull out."

"I liked being in lane one because for the first 100 I would be in the lead. I did not want them to drag a little bit off me. So, if I was on my own then they could not see me and it would be to my advantage."

The taste of success for Marianne Limpert
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Silver medallist Marianne Limpert, CAN, said "It was a fast race. There was a little bit of pressure on me being in lane four but I did all I could do. Unfortunately coming home I breathe on my right side and I couldn't really see Michelle Smith, so I put my head down and went for the wall. I'm still happy. It's my best time by over a second." Li Lin, CHN, winner of this event in 1992 in a world record time of 2:11.25, was unhappy. "Overall the time was not very good. I did not feel well today. But I'll take the bronze anyway."

How the race was split: 
Smith 28.79 1:02.97 1:43.34 2:13.93
Limpert 29.42 1:04.23 1:43.25 2:14.35
Lin 29.22 1:03.86 1:42.58 2:14.74
Malar 29.87 1:04.71 1:43.81 2:15.30

The biggest casualty of the prelims was Kristine Quance, USA, with a 13 th place finish (2:13.76 seed). Top qualifier Marianne Limpert, CAN, set a national record.

After the record swim Limpert said, "It has taken four years of trying. I called my club coach, Claude St-Jean in Fredericton, and he has been crying for about 40 minutes. I also spoke to all my teammates for about two minutes each. I didn't recognize some of their voices. It's really great to hear their support. They were screaming when I called. They said they were watching it on TV and going crazy. It's the atmosphere I have missed the last couple of years while in Calgary at the National Centre."

Limpert leading broke her national record
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

"Because I was swimming in the first heat, it was a little deceptive because you can't ease up because you don't know if it's a slow heat. Just because it looks like you are swimming fast, it doesn't mean that you are going to make the final. I said to myself, 'You are having a good swim, just keep going'."

Canadian head coach Dave Johnson said. "She swam very well. I think it's going to be a hell of a race tonight. I think the way things have gone is a little bit to her advantage. She is going to be in the spotlight for the next five hours and then hopefully she will be in the spotlight big time."


Denis Pankratov, RUS, took an insurmountable lead after he kicked down to 35 m mark. He emerged with almost a body length lead. His stroke rate was much higher than the rest of the field. He turned at the 50 in 24.19.

He maintained his lead throughout the second 50, touching in 52.27, a new world record.

Scott Miller, AUS, was in sixth place at the 50 with 24.78 but closed the gap somewhat with a faster second half, 27.75 to Pankratov's 28.08.

In lane eight, Vladislav Kulikov, RUS, with a strong finish touched for third.

Olympic gold and World record for Denis Pankratov
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Pankratov's technique could be a major evolutionary step. For him it's faster to kick underwater. And eventually others will be able to kick longer underwater. What happens then? Will there be limits placed on the underwater distance allowed? Time will tell. On his underwater style Pankratov said. "We were looking for new ways to go fast. I don't think there are any limits. It's only dangereous if you don't know how to do it. When I am underwater I can see those swimming next to me and I know where they are."

"I was motivated today to do well, because in 1992 at age 17 I didn't. I finished sixth. I've been working towards this goal since then."

"I am not planning to retire anytime soon. When I do, I might want to be a coach and work with someone like Kulikov."

Silver medallist Scott Miller, AUS, thought he could be first. "I am a little disappointed. I thought that I had it in me to win the event. I gave it my best and it was just not good enough. Pankratov set a world record, I thought I was ready to swim faster. I was a bit low on the wall. That was the only mistake I made. It was just not good enough."

Vladislav Kulikov, RUS, finished third. "I'm still trying to figure out what exactly happened. I went one hundred percent. I knew my mother was watching at home on television and my wife and my son were in the stands. My father died recently and I have to provide for my son. It is difficult."

"I still can't get quite over the fact that my name came up third instead of eighth. Looking through goggles it all looks the same. You can't tell whether it's a three or an eight, it all looks the same on the scoreboard. Once I understood what happened, I found it incredible. I try to swim within myself, don't look at the spectators, trying to stay within my own world."

To reach final it took the fastest field in history. A fastest field is when all eight qualifiers swim faster than the previous record for qualifying for a final. The fastest ever men's 100 fly required a 54.02 to reach finals at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials. This morning the eighth qualifiers in the men's 100 fly did 53.54.

America once ruled this event-no more. Both U.S. entries missed the final. Mark Henderson was ninth and John Hargis, winner of the U.S. Trials, finished 17 th. There were national records for Khnykin, UKR, Jiang, CHN and Clarke, CAN.

Scott Miller bettered the Olympic record. "I am happy, but it won't mean very much unless I win tonight, and I know that's going to be pretty hard. Records don't mean much to me. I came here to win an Olympic gold medal. That's all that really matters."


The Americans were never in doubt, except when Penny Heyns moved South Africa into the lead after her 1:07.41 breast split.

It looked like China chose to swim a development team for the future as veterans Cihong He, Limin Liu and Jingyi Le didn't swim. China still picked up a bronze.

1) 4:02.88 United States,USA 	     Splits 	   Total 
Beth Botsford 				1:01.67 	1:01.67
Amanda Beard 				1:08.34 	2:10.01
Angel Martino 				58.70 		3:08.71
Amy van Dyken 				54.17 		4:02.88 
2) 4:05.08 Australia,AUS Nicole Stevenson 1:02.65 1:02.65 Samatha Riley 1:08.19 2:10.84 Susan O'Neill 59.03 3:09.87 Sarah Ryan 55.21 4:05.08
3) 4:07.34 China,CHN Yan Chen 1:02.48 1:02.48 Xue Han 1:09.92 2:12.40 Huijue Cai 59.92 3:12.32 Ying Shan 55.02 4:07.34
4) 4:08.16 South Africa,RSA Marianne Kriel 1:02.39 1:02.39 Penelope Heyns 1:07.41 2:09.80 Amanda Loots 1:02.33 3:12.13 Helene Muller 56.03 4:08.16

Hungary did not make the finals, but Krisztina Egerszegi swam the fastest 100 back of the competition with 1:01.05. The winner of the 100 back on Monday, Beth Botsford, USA, did 1:01.19.

Worthy of note: Jenny Thompson, USA, swam the second fastest fly relay leg of all time with 58.53. The fastest time ever remains Mary T. Meagher's 58.04.

MEDAL TOTALS after day 5

Country		Gold	Silver	Bronze	Total

United States	8	8	2	18
Russia		3	1	2	6
Ireland		3			3
South Africa	2		1	3
New Zealand	2			2
China		1	2	2	5
Hungary		1	1	2	4
Belgium		1			1
Costa Rica	1			1

Germany			3	5	8
Australia		2	4	6
Canada			1	1	2
Brazil			1	1	2
Cuba			1	1	2
Sweden			1		1
Great Britain		1		1
Netherlands			1	1

Total		22	22	22	66

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