Nick Thierry and Paul Quinlan DAY 1, August 22 It was an historic first day, with a fantastic world record in the 400 free by Ian Thorpe and the Australian men's 4x100 free relay beating the Americans for the American's first-ever loss in this event. MEN'S 400 M FREESTYLE Grant Hackett (AUS), who set the early pace, led through the 100 in 53.95, with Ryk Neethling (RSA) second in 54.05, two hundredths of a second ahead of Ian Thorpe (AUS). At the 150 mark, Thorpe turned on the jet power and surged to the lead, touching at 200 m in 1:51.03 to Neethling's 1:51.22 and Hackett's 1:51.32. The "Thorpedo" moved ahead as the race progressed through the 300. It was all Thorpe for the gold and the world record in 3:41.83, with Hackett (3:46.02) and Neethling (3:46.31) battling for second. Thorpe's tactics worked well. Hackett and Neethling took the early lead, which allowed Thorpe to negative split. The new world record-holder's first 200 was 1:51.03 and second 200 was 1:50.80. "I don't believe this. It's the first time I've gone out there and swum my own race," Thorpe said. "I was able to get the benefit of doing that." When asked how this compared with winning a world championship, as he did in 1998, Thorpe said: "Almost as good. It's pretty close. It's an amazing feeling becoming world champion at 15 and now to do this in front of my home crowd tonight." Thorpe's coach Doug Frost was utterly perplexed, saying: "I just can't believe it. What an outstanding swim. I thought it was going to take a world record to win it. I thought it would be a lot closer. It was the best swim in history. Just amazing—he is an amazing athlete. He has big ambitions and goals and he is achieving those goals, which I thought were unreachable." How the race was split: Thorpe Hackett Neethling 50 25.91 25.89 25.97 100 54.07 53.95 54.05 150 1:22.61 1:22.42 1:22.67 200 1:51.03 1:51.32 1:51.22 250 2:19.11 2:20.14 2:19.86 300 2:46.29 2:49.26 2:48.85 350 3:14.30 3:18.30 3:18.11 400 3:41.83 3:46.02 3:46.31 WOMEN'S 400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Joanne Malar (CAN) was favoured having the fastest time of all competitors at 4:38.46 ahead of Yasuko Tajima (JPN), the only other competitor to have gone under 4:40.00 with a PB of 4:39.45. Tajima was in the lead after the fly in 1:03.41, increasing her lead by another body length in the backstroke leg (2:13.01). Malar made her move in the breaststroke, with Maddy Crippen (USA) 3/100ths back. Tajima and Cristina Teuscher (USA) were half a body length behind. There were four swimmers with a chance of winning the gold as they went in to the final 100 of freestyle. For a time it looked like Teuscher's distance background was going to win the event for her, but Malar was not to be denied and fought back strongly to take the gold in 4:40.23. Tajima took the silver in 4:40.56, ahead of Teuscher in 4:41.21. The splits: Malar Tajima Teuscher 50 30.32 30.12 30.08 100 1:04.21 1:03.41 1:04.85 150 1:40.71 1:38.76 1:40.50 200 2:16.18 2:13.01 2:15.56 250 2:55.30 2:55.03 2:55.75 300 3:35.95 3:36.88 3:36.96 350 4:09.17 4:09.48 4:09.09 400 4:40.23 4:40.56 4:41.12 "This has been a harder double than I thought it would be," a tired Malar said after competing in the Pan Ams in Winnipeg during the first week of August and then making the long trip to Australia. "I don't feel like I'm 100-per-cent rested and tapered right now. However, if I can go a 4:40 feeling pretty tired, that's a good sign. You have to be tough." It was Malar's first career win at Pan Pacs. "I was seriously nervous before the final. It was important for me to swim really well in this pool. No matter what, I always take the 400 IM very seriously. "I've been playing around with my splitting and it's just awesome that I can control and know what I want to look for. I've been trying to swim more controlled and it paid off. I wanted to come on in the last 200 really strong." WOMEN'S 4x100 FREESTYLE RELAY The Australian team with Sarah Ryan leading got away to a great start, edging the USA's Liesl Kolbisen 56.10 to 56.26. The Canadians were third with a 56.74 from Jessica Deglau. The Americans and Australians made a great race of it with Canada always close at hand and a threat particularly to Australia for the silver medal. With the final leg to be swum, the USA touched in 2:47.59, half-a-second ahead of Australia (2:48.03) and Canada (2:48.78). Jenny Thompson anchored the Americans with a 54.27 to put the race away with a 3:41.86. Susie O'Neill (AUS) didn't quite match that, but her 54.66 was a personal best and Australia's 3:42.69 just missed the national record of 3:42.61. Canada, in third with 3:44.50, set a national record. The American women have dominated this event and it was Jenny Thompson's sixth consecutive gold in this relay. MEN'S 4x100 FREESTYLE RELAY The Australians made it an historic occasion, downing the Americans in the 4x100 free relay for the first time ever. No other nation has ever toppled the Americans in this relay. Michael Klim (AUS) led off in 48.73, which gave the Australians over a body-length lead and was a national record. The Americans moved up with a 48.93 leg from Josh Davis, but it was not enough to catch the Aussies, whose second swimmer, Jeff English, split 49.60. Another fast leg from Neil Walker (48.90) moved the Americans closer as Chris Fydler's 49.20 maintained a slight advantage for the Australians. Ian Thorpe assured the win for Australia with his 48.55 anchor, to Jason Lezak's 48.83 for the Americans. The winning time was 3:16.08, the third fastest ever—only two USA teams have been faster. The USA placed second with 3:16.81. Canada was third in 3:20.73, setting a new national record. "We're looking for every win you can get," Australian head coach Don Talbot said. "While you can recognize the world record as being great, to win the relay and topple the Americans is better." He was full of praise for Thorpe, who "could be the greatest Australian swimmer we've ever had—maybe the greatest the world has ever seen." Talbot raved about the 16-year-old's Ferrari-style acceleration and he rated that 400 free among the best races he had ever witnessed. Fastest semi-finals winners were Jenny Thompson (USA) in the 100 fly with 58.57, and Simon Cowley (AUS) with 1:01.60 in the men's 100 breaststroke. DAY 2, August 23 World records fell this day in the women's 100 fly, women's 100 breast (prelims), and the men's 200 freestyle (semi-finals). Australia led the medal totals with 8 (4 gold and 4 silver), while the USA had 8 medals (3 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze). WOMEN'S 100 BUTTERFLY Jenny Thompson (USA) looked very strong and fluid in her stroke, turning at the 50 in record pace with a 26.94, well ahead of Susan O'Neill (AUS) with 27.71. Coming off the turn, Thompson accelerated and slammed into the wall in 57.88, erasing Mary T. Meagher's long-standing record of 57.93 from 1981. Susan O'Neill was second in 59.07, with Ayari Aoyama (JPN) third in 59.58. The new world-record holder said "It's just a dream come true. I can't believe it, I'm just so psyched. I was thinking it's really amazing there's been this many new world records. "Tonight I didn't know where I was in the race, but I just kept going and hoped that record was there. It's a fantastic pool—a fantastic meet. It's great!" MEN'S 100 BREASTSTROKE Michael Norment (USA) led the field down the first length, going to the wall in 29.06, with Simon Cowley (AUS) following in 29.20 and Brett Petersen (RSA) in 29.30. The 18-year-old Cowley pulled ahead in the last 15 metres to take the gold in 1:02.06, with Regan Harrison (AUS) surprising in second in 1:02.26, ahead of Morgan Knabe (CAN) in 1:02.37. "I was just happy to get on the board first. I'm a little disappointed with the time because I swam so well yesterday—but—a win's a win. "My starts haven't been strong in the past and I have done a lot of work on them. I hit them pretty well in the prelims and the semis—but not in the final." WOMEN'S 400 FREESTYLE Lindsay Benko (USA) was in the lead for the first 100 with 59.80, ahead of Brooke Bennett (USA) with 1:00.20. Bennett then moved into the lead, which she maintained for the rest of the race, winning in 4:08.39 to Benko's 4:08.75. Bennett's time was her personal best by over two seconds. Claudia Poll (CRC) was third in 4:11.53. When asked what this win meant to her 12 months before the Olympics, Bennett replied: "I think it means a lot—especially to get a good feel in the water—know what it's going to look like next year." MEN'S 400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Curtis Myden (CAN) was the favourite with the fastest time of the year. Matthew Dunn was not given much of a chance of winning after breaking a leg in May and missing his usual aerobic preparation. Dunn won in 4:16.54 to Myden's 4:16.77. Tom Wilkens (USA), who led for the first half, had be content with the bronze medal in 4:18.58. Dunn appeared stunned at the result and the great race it turned out to be. When asked where it hit him, he replied "In the legs. Last time I walked like this I had a broken leg. I'm just rapt. I had a really disjointed preparation and I'm happy to come away with the win." Dunn on Myden: "Yeah, he's a good competitor. It wouldn't have been the race it was without Curtis." The splits Dunn Myden Wilkens 100 59.29 58.59 58.32 200 2:06.60 2:05.27 2:04.28 300 3:18.04 3:17.21 3:16.75 400 4:16.54 4:16.77 4:18.58 Semi-finals were held in the 100 backstroke, with two Japanese women posting the fastest times—Mai Nakamura with 1:02.07 and Noriko Inada with 1:02.27. A very fast men's 200 freestyle semi-final had Michael Klim (AUS) on record pace in the first heat, posting a personal best of 1:46.82, followed by a record swim by Ian Thorpe in the next heat. His 1:46.34 bettered Grant Hackett's 1:46.67 from last March. Thorpe's splits were 25.03, 52.50, and 1:19.36. "It's going to be a great race tomorrow night," Thorpe predicted. DAY 3, August 24 With two more world records, the total was six after three days of swimming. World records fell to Ian Thorpe (AUS) in the 200 free and Lenny Krazelburg (USA) in the 100 back. Australia led with 13 medals (6-6-1), followed by the USA with 11 (4-3-4) and Canada with 5 (1-1-3). WOMEN'S 100 BACKSTROKE An Australian record and a poor touch resulted in a rare tie for the gold. Mai Nakamura (JPN) had the early lead, touching first at the 50 in 29.74, with Dyana Calub (AUS) second with 29.95. Calub finished strongly and seemingly won. But in a dramatic turn of events, the scoreboards failed to register the times. After a delay of several minutes and to the surprise of the crowd, Calub and Nakamura were both shown with the same time of 1:01.51—the computer was not able to separate them. Gold medals went to both swimmers. Barbara Bedford took the bronze medal in 1:01.76. Meet Director Roger Smith, a FINA Vice-President, said of the scoreboard problem, "There was a malfunction between the touch pad and the electronic scoreboard; so we checked the (paper) tape and the video. Both results were exactly the same." Mai Nakamura said, "I lost with a poor touch on the wall. This is a problem I have and I must fix it." Calub was overcome with her first international medal. "I was hoping this meet was going to my best so far and it has been. I just swam my own race in my own lane and didn't worry about anyone else. I'm very happy with the time, which broke Nicole Stevenson's Australian record." MEN'S 200 FREESTYLE The race started with Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim stroke for stroke on the first lap, with Klim turning in 24.83 ahead of Thorpe in 24.92. Thorpe looked very smooth and moved ahead in the second 50, splitting 52.01 at the 100. Klim was still at Thorpe's shoulder with a 52.14. Ryk Neethling (RSA) was in third place. Klim could not keep up in the last lap. The amazing Ian Thorpe had done it again, blowing his opposition out of the water with a tremondous last lap to set a record of 1:46.00. The splits: Thorpe Klim Neethling 50 24.92 24.82 25.33 100 52.01 52.14 52.86 150 1:18.95 1:19.51 1:20.54 200 1:46.00 1:47.40 1:48.17 After his third world record in three days, Thorpe was asked if it gets any better than this. "I don't think so. I never believed I could do it this fast. Now it's done it has been all worthwhile." MEN'S 100 BACKSTROKE Lenny Krayzelburg (USA) went ahead of Jeff Rouse's world-record pace of 26.32 with a fast 25.97, to write his name into the record book with a winning time of 53.60. Matt Welsh (AUS) improved again to take the silver in 55.13 over teammate Josh Watson, who was third in 55.18 "That was my goal," said Krayzelburg. "To set a new world record, but I kind of surprised myself here. It's an awesome pool—definitely the best I've raced in. I'm really looking forward to coming back next year." WOMEN'S 100 BREASTSTROKE It was all Penny Heyns again as the South African swam with her customary power stroke. However it was not to be a new record this time, winning with a 1:07.08, slowest of the three rounds (1:06.52 prelims and 1:06.99 semis). "I can't say I'm disappointed in my time," Heyns said. "Obviously I was hoping to go a little faster than I'd gone last night. So far I've had a really brilliant month of racing. Each race is an opportunity to learn something. I think I made a couple of little mistakes, like my finish." Megan Quann (USA) was second in 1:08.54 69, with Kristy Kowal (USA) third in 1:08.56. In semi-finals, Susan O'Neill posted the fastest time in the 200 free with 1:59.88 and Joanne Malar (CAN) swam a personal best and the fastest time this year with a 2:13.95 in the 200 IM. Tom Malchow (USA) had the fastest time in the 200 fly with 1:55.76. DAY 4, August 25 The seventh world record of the competition in the men's 4x200 free relay was the fourth day's highlight. Tom Malchow (USA) won the 200 fly in the second- fastest time ever, Susie O'Neill (AUS) won the 200 free, and Joanne Malar (CAN) won the 200 IM. The USA moved ahead in total medals with 17 (5-6-6), with Australia 16 (8-6-2) still ahead on golds. WOMEN'S 200 FREESTYLE Lindsay Benko (USA) had the lead for the first three lengths, splitting 27.86 at the 50, 57.58 at the 100, and 1:28.00at the 150. Susan O'Neill (AUS), in second with 28.14 at the 50 and 58.01 at the 100, closed the gap at the 150 with 1:28.03, and moved into the lead on the final length, winning in 1:58.17, a Commonwealth and Australian record and a full second improvement over her previous best. Benko placed second with 1:59.60 and Ellen Stonebraker (USA) third with 2:00.46 MEN'S 200 BUTTERFLY Inspired by all the record setting, Tom Malchow (USA) was on record pace, but fell short at the end. His time of 1:55.41 is the second-fastest 200 butterfly time ever. Takashi Yamamoto (JPN) was second with 1:57.33 and Ugur Taner (USA) third with 1:57.82. "It was close," Malchow said. "There is something out there for me to keep shooting for, to keep me focused. Hopefully I will be back here next year—maybe I'll be ready next time to go that fast." WOMEN'S 200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Tomoko Hagiwara (JPN) had the lead for the fly (28.76) and back (1:01.99). Elli Overton (AUS) was second at the 100 with 1:03.17, with Cristina Teuscher (USA) third in 1:03.52 and Joanne Malar (CAN) fourth in 1:03.95. Holding back for the first half was the right strategy as Malar made her move in the second half, moving into the lead on the breaststroke leg and holding off a fast-charging Teuscher. Malar's winning time of 2:13.63 was a Commonwealth and Canadian record. Teuscher was second with 2:14.31 and Overton third with 2:14.51. Hagiwara, the early leader, missed the podium. "When I touched the wall I was happy, but I know I can go faster than that," Malar said. "I felt pressure to win because I wanted to end my last individual race on a high note. This has been the best season of my career. I've really learned to swim fast. And being here was so inspirational." The splits: Malar Teuscher Overton Hagiwara 50 29.52 29.55 29.21 28.76 100 1:03.95 1:03.52 1:03.17 1:01.99 150 1:42.07 1:43.24 1:42.43 1:42.32 200 2:13.63 2:14.31 2:14.51 2:14.70 MEN'S 4x200 FREESTYLE RELAY The crowd sensed a world record and got behind the Australian team. Ian Thorpe just missed the world record in the lead-off leg. Newcomer to the relay team, Bill Kirby, increased the lead over the USA. Grant Hackett swam third and showed no effects from the virus he had contracted early in the week. Michael Klim then anchored in fine style to take an amazing three seconds off Australia's record time from the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. The crowd went wild, appreciating the piece of history they had witnessed. The splits: Australia USA 200 1:46.28 Thorpe 1:48.67 Carvin 400 1:48.96 Kirby 1:47.66 Davis 600 1:46.39 Hackett 1:51.43 Malchow 800 1:47.25 Klim 1:48.90 Taner 7:08.79 7:16.66 Semi-finals were held in the men's 100 free with Michael Klim (AUS) leading all qualifiers with 49.39. Simon Cowley (AUS) was fastest in the men's 200 breaststroke with 2:13.21. In the women's 200 fly, Susan O'Neill (AUS) swam 2:06.53 and had everyone anticipating the final on the next day where she would attack the oldest remaining world record of 2:05.96 from 1981. DAY 5, August 26 The day's highlight was a world record for Penny Heyns in the 200 breast semis. It was the eighth world record in five days. Australians won three of four finals contested this day, moving them in the gold medal lead with 21 (11-7-3), with the USA tied for total medals 21 (6-8-7) MEN'S 200 BREASTSTROKE It was a come-from-behind swim for Simon Cowley (AUS). In fourth place at the mid-point, he slowly moved into contention and at the 150 was half a body-length behind Tom Wilkens (USA), the leader for the first three lengths. Cowley, with his classical long, flat breaststroke technique, moved ahead to finish a body length in front of Wilkens. Terence Parkin (RSA) held on to take the bronze. Cowley, coached by Doug Frost, looks better every time he jumps into the pool. "Yeah, I'm pretty happy," he said. "I would like to have gone a bit quicker. But you know I will have another opportunity." The splits: Cowley Wilkens Parkin 50 30.76 30.19 30.51 100 1:05.22 1:04.47 1:04.62 150 1:39.11 1:38.46 1:39.11 200 2:12.98 2:13.97 2:14.12 WOMEN'S 200 BUTTERFLY The gold was never in question. Anticipation was high after Susan O'Neill (AUS) posted the second-best-ever time in the semis, a mere half a second off the oldest record. O'Neill won in a most convincing way with a four-second margin over Jessica Deglau (CAN) with 2:10.27 and Misty Hyman (USA) with 2:10.40. A comparison of O'Neill's splits and the record: O'Neill Meagher 50 28.70 29.53 100 1:00.71 1:01.41 150 1:33.25 1:33.69 200 2:06.60 2:05.96 The splits tell the story. Maybe O'Neill would have had more in the tank for the last lap if she had been a little more conservative in the first 100. Coach Scott Volkers said, "She obviously wanted it badly tonight. I could see in the first 25 that it was probably not going to be simple because the stroke rate was 2 strokes per minute too high. You've got to do it easy—I guess that's the pressure and that's what she has got to learn." MEN'S 100 FREESTYLE Michael Klim (AUS) stayed underwater with his dolphin movement for 12 metres at the start and led the field to the turn in 23.08, under record pace. Klim held on to win in 48.90 over Neil Walker (USA) with 49.17 and Chris Fydler (AUS) with 49.42. WOMEN'S 4x200 FREE RELAY The American women won their only gold of the evening in this relay with the second-fastest time ever and an American record. Their time was 7:57.61, a two-second improvement over the US Olympic gold performance from 1996. Australia was second with 8:00.67 for a Commonwealth and Australian record, and Canada was third with 8:06.86. Semi-final winners this day were Jenny Thompson (USA) in the 100 free with 55.48 and Lenny Krayzelburg (USA) with 1:57.41 in the 200 back, with Raymond Hass (AUS) setting a national record of 1:59.08. Men's 200 IM top qualifier was Curtis Myden (CAN) in 2:02.38, with Grant McGregor (AUS), Tom Wilkens (USA), and Matthew Dunn (AUS) also under 2:03. Penny Heyns (RSA) set her second world record of the competition in the 200 breaststroke semi-final, with 2:24.42, bettering her five-week-old time of 2:24.51. However, she was feeling the strain and said after her latest record, "I really felt like it was time to go home. I'm tired of racing. "The focus tonight was to be really relaxed and to have fun, to enjoy every bit of the race for what it was." DAY 6, August 27 Two more world records brought the total to ten after six days. The world records were in the men's 200 backstroke and women's 200 breaststroke. Australia did not win a gold this day but still led in the medal totals with 26 (11-9-6) to the USA's 25 (9-9-7). Canada was third with 10 (2-3-5). WOMEN'S 200 BREASTSTROKE Penny Heyns (RSA), in a class of her own, bettered the world record for the second consecutive day (her fourth in this event in 1999). Heyns was ahead of Kristy Kowal (USA) by half a body-length at the first turn, but with an incredible 100 split she increased that to a full body-length. At the finish, there was a two body-length margin of victory. Of note were the great times by Kowal, in second with 2:25.52, and Sarah Poewe (RSA), in third with 2:25.90. The splits: Heyns Aug 26 Aug 27 Kowal Poewe 50 33.34 33.52 33.34 33.91 100 1:10.58 1:09.16 1:09.96 1:11.65 150 1:47.91 1:46.02 1:47.47 1:49.32 200 2:24.42 2:23.64 2:25.52 2:25.90 "I'm shocked," Heyns said after saying a few words of post-race prayer as she lingered in the pool. "I was nervous. I hurt a bit more coming home than the other night, and now I know why. "I'm just pleased that I've been able to handle the pressure because there were times before this event when I thought I was losing it and I really didn't feel like racing, but I managed to turn it around." And how! MEN'S 200 BACKSTROKE It was a good bet that this event would have a new record as Lenny Krayzleburg (USA) had five of the 10 fastest times ever done prior to this race. He was already half a body-length ahead of everyone after he emerged from the underwater start, and he just moved ahead of the world record pace at each turn. The splits: Krayzelburg Old record 50 27.18 28.29 100 56.19 58.08 150 1:25.64 1:27.50 200 1:55.87 1:56.57 The understatement of the night came from the new record-holder after the race, when he said: "I went out a little bit too fast but I'm still relieved and excited." The crowd? "It's awesome—some say you can't hear it, but I certainly can. The people cheering just gives you that extra second wind where you can call on it in the last 25. I'm definitely going to be here next year." WOMEN'S 100 FREESTYLE Jenny Thompson (USA) was the easy winner in this event, an event where in 1992 she held the world record briefly. Now better known as a flyer, she is also the world's best in this event. After the start, she held a half body-length lead at the 25 and turned first at 50 in 26.47. She powered home in 54.89. Sarah Ryan (AUS) was second throughout, turning in 26.88 to finish in 55.58, a personal best. Rebecca Creedy (AUS), only sixth at the turn, moved up on the field to pick up a third in 55.90. Laura Nicholls (CAN) just missed a medal, but her 55.94 was a Canadian record. Crowd noise? "I didn't hear it. I just tried to get to the wall first," said Thompson. And the ebullient silver medallist, Sarah Ryan, said: "I've never had a medal in a 100 m (internationally) before. I'm stoked." MEN'S 200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Tom Wilkens (USA) helped to make it a good night for the Americans, with their third consecutive gold. Curtis Myden (CAN) and Matt Dunn (AUS) had their usual contest, but the Australian was not able to make up the lead in the second half as he did in the distance IM. "I really worked on my race tonight," Wilkens said. "I wanted to get myself in a position to win. In my head I knew exactly what I had to do to win, and luckily I was able to do that. That is my best time by eight tenths." The splits: Wilkens Myden Dunn 50 26.52 26.74 27.21 100 57.92 58.13 58.83 150 1:31.57 1:32.60 1:33.52 200 2:01.01 2:01.64 2:01.86 Semi-final winners were Brendon Dededkind (RSA) with 22.14 in the men's 50 free, Tomoko Hagiwara (JPN) with 2:11.20 in the women's 200 back, and Geoff Huegill (AUS) with 52.45 and Michael Klim (AUS) with 52.76 in the 100 fly. DAY 7, August 28 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). WOMEN'S 200 BACKSTROKE 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. MEN'S 100 BUTTERFLY 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." WOMEN'S 800 FREESTYLE 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." MEN'S 50 FREESTYLE 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. "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. DAY 8, August 29 The final day only had one session during mid- afternoon, and a close battle between Australia and USA in the medals race was marred by a disqualification. The Americans won three of the four events, winning the medals race with 35 (13-10-12), although Australia tied the USA for total golds with 31 (13-12-6). South Africa's 9 (3-1-5) medals edged out Canada's 11 (2-1-5) in golds. WOMEN'S 50 FREESTYLE Jenny Thompson (USA) was off to a good start. At the 25 she had a slight lead, but Sarah Ryan (RSA) in lane 8 drew level with Thompson and was ahead with 10 metres remaining. Ryan's stroke rate faded marginally to let Thompson back in for a win. Thompson's winning time was 25.51, with 25.95 for Ryan and 25.94 for Liesl Kolbisen (USA) in third. MEN'S 1500 FREESTYLE Grant Hackett (AUS) fought off a head cold to post the third fasest time in history in the 1500 freestyle. His 14:45.60 was just four seconds off the world record. It continued a streak of Australian distance winners that started in 1991. He hopes to better 14:40 at the Australian Trials next May. "I haven't had a great week," Hackett said. "I was a bit sick. I just wanted to get up and win this event. I went out hard and just tried to hang on. I was really focused on my technique when I was hurting, that was the key to my pace—I'm thrilled—this crowd here is unbelieveable." Ryk Neethling (RSA) finished in second, just missing the 15-minute barrier with 15:02.40. He had a great meet nevertheless, with thirds in the 200 and 400 free. Chris Thompson (USA), in third with 15:04.68, was the fastest American since 1988. WOMENS 4x100 MEDLEY RELAY The USA won this event convincingly over the Australians to put them in front of the gold medal race. Always in the lead, the USA won in 4:03.49, with Australia finishing in 4:05.79 and Japan in 4:07.14. MENS 4x100 MEDLEY RELAY Swimming supremacy came down to the final race. The winner would win the gold medal race. The USA took a big lead after Lenny Krayzelburg's backstroke lead-off and held on throughout the various changeovers to win with 3:36.37. Australia, desperately trying to catch up throughout the race, had anchor Michael Klim leave half a body-length behind Neil Walker, the anchor for the USA who split 48.52, touching ahead of the Aussies. Klim tried to close the gap, but his split of 47.78 was not enough, giving the Aussies their final time of 3:36.54 for second. The disappointment turned into frustration when he learned he had taken off early and the team was disqualified. "I knew we were behind," Klim said. "I would have to go if we were to have a chance of winning the race and the meet. Better now than next year. In the end it has not made a difference in this meet." A philosophical Don Talbot summed it up. "It was down to the last relay and we needed to win. It's a case of trying too hard. We've got to live with that. But we still had a great meet."