BARCELONA - "World Record Holders Only," that's the sign that hung over the podium tonight for the men's 100 fly medal presentation. Three world records broken in two days by three men equals the event of the meet, and for the ultimate champion Ian Crocker, possibly the title of swimmer of the championship. Not to be outdone, Hannah Stockbauer proved she's the toughest woman in the world with her sweep of the distance free events.
Inge de Bruijn (NED), clad in a swim cap with "Princess" printed on the front, won in a new championship record of 25.84, off her best time from 3 years ago. Jenny Thompson (USA) swam a best time by over half a second to win silver in 26.00, while the world record holder, Anna-Karin Kammerling (SWE) was third in 26.07-well off her best also.
Xuejuan Luo (CHN) also broke her own championship record to win semi-final 2 in 30.64. Zoe Baker (GBR) was slower than the morning and got touched out by Leisel Jones (AUS) 31.29 to 31.23. Brooke Hanson (AUS) had another great swim to win the first semi-final in a 31.11 with Kristy Kowal (USA) well back in 31.79.
Thomas Rupprath (GER) was not going to be outshined by de Bruijn or Luo, and he too broke his own championship record with a 25.07. In the first semi-fnail his teammate Steffen Driesen (GER) tied for the win with Gerhard Zanderberg (RSA) in 25.38.
Katy Sexton (GBR) came home in 31.35 to win her first major international gold and get the ball rolling for the British team. Her winning time of 2:08.74 was a Commonwealth record. She beat a fading Margaret Hoelzer (USA) who touched in 2:09.24. Stanislava Komarova (RUS) was third in 2:10.17.
Alexander Popov (RUS) continued his comeback with a clear win in 21.92, but he wasn't ready to commit to any predictions for next summer. When asked about Athens, he told reporters that he thought a lot of people could swim fast there. When asked about whether he ever thought he would retire after Sydney he replied smiling, "I was only young then."
Mark Foster (GBR) won his first major medal by racing to second place in a 22.20, while Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED) picked up the bronze. "This gives me a lot of confidence for next year," said Foster. "It's a stepping stone, I'm moving in the right direction."
The three men behaved unlike our traditional notion sprinters. They all hugged in the water and were throwing their arms over each other's shoulders on pool deck. "This is a delightful moment for me," said vdHoogenband. "My good friend Popov got gold, and another mate, Mark Foster got the silver. We'll be a happy trio on the podium." He continued, "It doesn't bother me as much when I am beaten by Alex," said vdHoogenband. "I respect him so much."
Hannah Stockbauer won her 3rd gold of the meet with a championship record swim of 8:23.66. The swim sealed her sweep of the 400, 800, and 1500 free events and broke legendary Janet Evan's championship record. It was a best time for Stockbauer as well as second place winner, Diana Munz (USA) with her great swim of 8:24.19. Rebecca Cooke (GBR) and Brittany Reimer (CAN) had the battle of the young girls, but Cooke came out on top with an 8:28.45 to win bronze. Reimer was fourth in 8:28.73. All four women went lifetime best times with Stockbauer, Munz and Cooke all negative splitting the race.
"I could see everyone tonight because I put my contacts in," said Cooke. "I knew I could get third. I could see the Canadian girl and I knew I could get her." Reimer was filled with a mix of frustration and elation. "Right now I am a bit disappointed because I was so close to getting a medal. But I am still really happy because it's a best time by so far."
Inge de Bruijn and Jenny Thompson both had big nights, but both responded well. De Bruijn went a 24.75, while Thompson qualified for tomorrow night's final in third spot with a 25.09 behind Lisbeth Lenton (AUS) in 25.08. Thompson had to swim the relay also, but de Bruijn did not swim on the Netherlands's relay.
How do you break a 100 metre world record by 37/100ths and still only win silver? You make it so hard to beat you that swimmers must swim out of their element to beat you. Ian Crocker (USA) had to take 1.23 seconds off his best time to beat Michael Phelps (USA) and by doing it he smashed the world record. "That was an incredible heat," said Phelps. "It's probably the best heat I've ever swum. The race was fantastic, I thought Ian's swim was perfect."
Crocker went for it tonight, and while every other person in the building assumed Phelps would win, Crocker had the guts to believe he could win. And that's why it could be the swim of the meet. "I've been wanting to swim 51 seconds for a long time," said Crocker. "But I guess I skipped it and went to 50. I'll take that, it's like a dream."
Crocker's time of 50.98 and Phelp's 51.10 were both faster than the world record set by Phelps last night. Even bronze medal winner Andriy Serdinov, the owner of the world record for 5 minutes yesterday, had to go faster than Michael Klim's (AUS) old world record. His time of 51.59 was another best time for him.
Michael Phelps: "Good field, great race. I lost in a good way. Both of us we were expecting to beat the World Record and to win; we made the 1-2 for US, what can I expect, more?"
"This week, I've learned a lot. Tomorrow will also be a decisive day. From then, I'll do my specific preparation for Athens."
"Ian deserves this time and he is WORLD CHAMPION! Finally, I don't have so much speed as Ian, but I'll try to improve that for Athens"
"The 100 fly is a race where everyone is very close. I only noticed Ian before the turn: from then I tried to do my best and to swim fast"
"I hate to lose, but this drives me more. This event is a big challenge for me in Athens"
"Tomorrow, I'll swim the relay in the morning and the 400 IM in the evening. I expect to do a good race in the IM".
Ian Crocker: "I still don't have a reaction. I still have not realized that this is the gold. I am surprised!"
"My goal was to go as fast as I could and to see where this could take me"
"Michael is one of the most amazing guys in sport. In just a couple of years, he is spreading his wings. He never gets tired. He helps me to have an extra motivation"
"This is not the end of the road in the 100 fly. This WR will certainly improve."
"I first thought it was a mistake. I don't have clear emotions now. I just wan't to go to sleep"
China won in a new championship record of 3:59.89 after a 1:05.79 breast split for Xuejuan Luo (fastest split of all-time) and 53.71 for Yu Yang (9th fastest all-time). Jenny Thompson split a 57.40 100 fly (4th fastest all-time) to lead USA to a 4:00.83. Natalie Coughlin lead-off in a 1:02.26, almost 3 seconds slower than her best obviously still not recovered.
Australia had a good swim for the bronze in 4:01.37 lead by a solid backstroke lead-off by Giaan Rooney in 1:01.75.
|Swimming Medals as of July 26|