1999 Pan Pacific Championships

Day 7 - August 28


Nick J. Thierry and Paul Quinlan

Although there were no world records in the Pan Pacific scheduled events, two world records fell in special time trials.

There was an upset in the the men's 50 free by Brendon Dedekind (RSA) and the closest finish in the men's 100 fly as only 2/100ths separated the first two. Japan continued its domination of women's backstroke with a sweep of the top two spots in the 200 back, and Brooke Bennett (USA) won the 800 free in a personal best.

The USA moved into the lead in total medals with 30 (10-10-10), with Australia still leading in golds with 29 (12-11-6).


The tall Tomoko Hagiwara (JPN) led the field through the first 50 in 31.49, ahead of Lindsay Benko (USA), who moved to first at the 100 with 1:04.60. But Hagiwara regained the lead at the 150, turning in 1:38.34, and Benko faded to third with 2:13.51 as Miki Nakao (JPN) moved into second with 2:11.41.


The pressure was on world record holder Michael Klim (AUS), as Geoff Huegill's (AUS) semi-final time of 52.45 was the fastest of the year.

In the final, Huegill turned in 24.41 and Klim in 24.63. Huegill led the field in the second lap with Klim at his shoulder, until Klim made his move at the 85-metre mark to come home and win in 52.49, a narrow margin of only 2/100ths over Huegill's 52.51. Yamamoto placed third with 52.93.

"My plan was to focus on finishing well, particularly the last fifteen metres into the wall, the last six strokes-that was where the race was going to be won and as it turned out that's what happened."


Brooke Bennett (USA) swam away to an easy win and was essentially alone, racing the clock. Her 8:25.06 was her personal best. It was her third consecutive Pan Pac win, added to her Olympic and World Championships victories. Rachel Harris (AUS) finished second with 8:37.23 and Ellen Stonebraker (USA) was third with 8:40.39.

"I going back home and take a little time off," Bennett said. "Then train hard for our Olympic Trials and then be back here again next year."


Brendon Dedekind (RSA), training in Talahassee, USA, swam 22.16 in the prelims and 22.14 in the semis, so he certainly sent everyone a message.

The final was a rip tearing knock ‘em down contest between Dedekind, Gary Hall (USA), Chris Fydler (AUS), and Bill Pilczuk (USA). Dedekind and Hall broke away from the field at 30 metres to fight for the gold and silver. Dedekind showed great composure under pressure to once again improve his time to 22.06, fifth fastest ever. Hall, with 22.26 and Pilczuk, with 22.52, were below their best times. Fydler placed fourth with a personal best of 22.61.

Brendon Dedekind (RSA) stunned everyone with 50 free win
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Darrin Braybrook/Sport The Library

"I got away to a good start," Dedekind said, "then made a breakaway at 30 metres and brought it home as fast as I could go. I only breathed once. I usually breathe twice, but I saw Gary there, so I thought I better only breathe once.

"I like this meet format. It gives you a good chance to work at getting a good lane in the final. I'm really happy about the Pan Pac gold medal and the meet record."

He was inspired. "The thing with Penny Heyns is that she just makes one realize anyone can do it. She's an inspiration to all of us."

South African swimmers are poor cousins of major powers such as the USA and Australia. Dedekind, who studies in the USA, had his fare to Australia paid by South African Swimming, after it initially said it could not afford to support sending its swimmers to the meet. While Heyns has a lucrative bank sponsorship, Dedeking is battling along. "I don't really swim for the money," he said. "I swim for the enjoyment of it, but it would be nice to have a proper sponsor."

The only semi-final of the evening was the 50 free, with Jenny Thompson (USA) posting the fastest time of 25.64.

Prelims were held for the men's 1500 free and Kieren Perkins (AUS), suffering from influenza and dysentery, missed the finals on the next day. This double Olympic champion and world-record holder may have competed in his last international meet. Top qualifiers were Chris Thompson (USA) 15:11.52, Grant Hackett (AUS) 15:12.64, and Ryk Neethling (RSA) 15:22.85.

After the morning prelims were over, two special record attempts were allowed. FINA rules allow time trials without prior notice subject to the approval of the host federation.

Penny Henys (RSA) bettered her own 50 breaststroke record with a 30.83; the old time was 30.95. It was her fourth world record in Sydney.

Lenny Krazleburg (USA) swam the 50 backstroke in 24.99 to establish the first world record, bettering the previous world best of 25.13.