1999 Short Course World Swimming Championships
Day 2


Nick Thierry

It was a four-world-record day, which says it all. There was an upset in the men's 100 fly as all the leading favourites were humbled by Lars Frolander (SWE), who took advantage of the situation to win his second consecutive championships.

"It wasn't my best time," Frolander said. "I made a mistake, but the finals result was good."

The race was fast, with Michael Klim (AUS) out in 23.88, well ahead of the record split of 24.06, but perhaps that took its toll as Frolander in lane five moved into the lead just ahead of Klim in lane two to win with a championship record of 51.44. Klim swam 51.56.

"I was out very fast but paid for it at the end," Klim said. World record holder James Hickman (GBR) was third with 51.60. "It would have been a pleasure to win. It was a great race and very competitive."

The women's 200 breaststroke had Penny Heyns (RSA) in the early lead, but after the first 50 the race was over, as Masami Tanaka (JPN) moved steadily ahead of Heyns to break the existing world record of 2:20.85 with a 2:20.22.

The new record splits:
Tanakaka 32.50 1:08.52 1:44.40 2:20.22
Riley in 1995 32.08 1:07.73 1:43.99 2:20.85

Tanaka had a better distribution of effort with a stronger finish. The former record holder Samantha Riley (AUS) missed the finals with a 10th in the prelims.

"I expected to break the record," Tanaka said. She had a previous personal best of 2:21.94, so the goal was realistic. Penny Heyns was tired. "I didn't expect the pace to be this fast. I'm still tired from the three sprint 50s from yesterday."

A spectacular race and world record for Grant Hackett
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Patrick Kramer

The men's 400 free was the race of these championships. The two greatest middle distance specialists battled again and Grant Hackett (AUS) had the perfect strategy today. Knowing how Ian Thorpe (AUS) is famous for his closing kick, Hackett set a blistering pace that had him four seconds ahead of Thorpe's record pace at the 200. This pulled Thorpe into a much faster first half than usual and Hackett was able to hold him off on the last 50, touching an astounding four seconds faster than the old world record. Thorpe was close behind but just short of victory.

The race splits:
Hacket 52.40 1:47.11 2:42.08 3:35.01
Thorpe 52.81 1:48.19 2:43.02 3:35.64
Old record 53.79 1:51.16 2:46.64 3:39.82

"Four seconds under the old record is a great achievement," Hackett said. I felt good this morning and was surprised how good the 3:40 prelim swim felt...Every time Ian Thorpe and I race each other, the times will get faster as we approach the Sydney Olympics next year."

What a day it was for Jenny Thompson (USA). During the morning, in a dramatic turn of events, her world record of 1:00.43 in the 100 IM was bettered by Martina Morvacova (SVK) in the heat before she was to swim. Spurned on, Thompson swam a few minutes later to shatter the new mark, lowering it to 59.30. Perhaps this record is out of reach for the moment. She then scratched from the event, having accomplished one of her goals, which was to claim the FINA incentive of US $15,000. Thompson had to swim the prelims of the 50 fly, with semis in the evening before the 100 free final, and then the final of the 50 fly. "I feel very good," Thompson said. "I have a busy life and I am trying to get the world record, but I'm pleased with a personal best."

Thompson won the 100 free in 53.24, with Sandra Volker (GER) second in 53.76 and Susan Rolph (GBR) third. Minutes later she was racing in the 50 fly, and was surprised that she had won in 26.18 over Anne-K. Kammerling (SWE) with 26.21.

Jenny Thompson broke a World Record in the 100 IM, picked up $15,000 US in prize money and a gold medal in the 100 free. Not bad for one day.
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Patrick Kramer

"I had no idea that I won," Thompson said. "I thought I got second. I was really tired from the 100 freestyle." Inge de Bruijn (NED) was third in 26.41. "I'm disappointed. I thought I could swim a lot faster, but the early rounds tired me."

Josh Watson (AUS), in a well-paced race, won the 200 backstroke in 1:54.67. Mark Versfeld (CAN) was second in 1:55.42, edging Sergei Ostapchuk (RUS) who faded at the finish to 1:55.61.

In a very classy display, Mai Nakamura (JPN) won the 100 backstroke in 58.67, her third sub-minute swim of the competition. Kelly Stefanyshyn (CAN), with a great finish, placed second in 1:00.43, and Erin Gammel (CAN) placed third in 1:00.49, both personal bests. Nakamura was disappointed. "I really wanted to break the world record, but it was my best."

100 backstroke medllists Erin Gammel and Kelly Stefanyshyn from Canada
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Patrick Kramer

Mark Foster (GBR) won the men's 50 freestyle in 21.81, a long way from his world record of 21.31. "It is all about racing. I am happy with my win and wanted to get the record. I still have the 50 butterfly and I'm confident I will come away with a record. I came here to win two events." Jose Martin Meolans (ARG) was second with 21.84 and Mark Veens (NED) third with 21.88. In the semi-finals, Veens set the championship record with 21.71.

"The final was so close," Veens said. "I just wish I got a better start. It seems everyone is peaking at the same time, which makes the competition very close."

The women's 800 freestyle was won by Chen Hua (CHN), who has been the world leader throughout this season. Her time of 8:20.13 was a personal best. Rachel Harris (AUS) battled for the first 500 but fell off the pace to finish second in 8:23.36 and Flavia Rigamonti (SUI) was third in 8:26.38.

For Rachel Harris, it was her first world championship medal."I am really happy because it is my best time. I was hoping to be closer."

The Netherland's men's team won the 4x200 free relay in 7:04.48, with Great Britain second in 7:07.29 and Canada third in 7:08.02. Favoured Australia was disqualifed after the morning prelims as they fouled up the order in which they swam compared to what they had submitted.