The Pan Pacific Championships, held in the Olympic pool at Homebush in Sydney, August 22-29, was the fastest competition in the last five years. Everyone was excited by the atmosphere and the great performances. We are providing the detail around the many record performances and the other fine near-record swims.
The heroics of 16-year-old Ian Thorpe are almost without precedent in the sport. In January of 1998 he was the world champion both individually (400 freestyle) and in a relay (4x200 free). In 1999 he was a short course world champion in the 200 and 400 free and now he bettered three individual world records as well as the 4x200 free relay record for the second time. What a promising future!
The Australian men's team of Thorpe, Michael Klim, Grant Hackett, Simon Cowley, Geoff Huegill, Matthew Dunn, and a number of others is their best ever and will challenge for Olympic supremacy a year from now.
Number one swimming power United States was challenged this year, but stellar performances from Jenny Thompson and Lenny Krayzelburg pulled them through. At next year's Olympics with the addition of the Europeans the depth of competition promises to be the fastest ever.
Canadians handled the back-to-back challenge of the Pan Ams and Pan Pacs well, especially Joanne Malar, who has the fastest 200 IM performance, and bettered the Canadian and Commonwealth record three times during August. The men's and women's 100 freestyle were also improved, as well as both 4x100 free relays.
Other topics in this issue -Why do you swim?- figure it out, and you'll be on your way.
After years of going after the small fish, the biggest shark of them all is now being charged in Germany. Manfred Ewald, the long-time head of sports in the former German Democratic Republic, has been indicted for the state-sponsored cheating that went on for over 30 years.
Karin Helmstaedt, now a Berlin television host, writes on Danish veteran Mette Jacobsen, who lives a full-time athlete's life, with everything she does aimed at swimming performance.