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Phelps Wins Number 6, Aussie Women Break World Record

Mar 31, 2007  - Nikki Dryden

Melbourne-With a pool-decked filled with some of the greatest swimmers of all-time, why do FINA Bureau members hand out the medals? It is a disgrace; self-serving FINA suits should not be honoured in this way when the following (just to name a few) Olympic medallists are here: Aussies Ian Thorpe, Susie O'Neill, Duncan Armstrong, Nicole Livingstone, Dan Kowalski, and Rob Woodhouse, British stars Adrian Moorhouse and Andy Jameson, and Italians Luca Sacci and Domenico Fioravanti. Sprint legend Alex Popov did present the 100 free awards, which is fantastic, however he is a member of the FINA athlete's commission.

Women's 50 Fly Final

Veteran Therese Alshammar (SWE) finally won her first gold medal after finishing 2nd and 3rd in this event at the last 2 World Champs. The 30 year old was part of a Eurosport reality show leading up to Athens, but didn't swim up to expectations. Today she did, winning in 25.91. "It's my first World title; I'm so happy!" said Alshammar. "I wanted to be under 26 again, but it doesn't matter if I win at the end." In for silver was Danni Miatke (AUS) in 26.05 and the bronze went to Inge Dekker (NED) in 26.11. "It helps so much to have the crowd behind you, it's just fantastic so thanks!" said a smiling Miatke. "I wanted to enjoy it and I got a PB tonight so I'm stoked."

Men's 50 Free Final

Ben Wildman-Tobriner (USA) stole the show from race favourite Cullen Jones (USA) and defending champ Roland Schoeman (RSA). Leading the whole way, Wildman-Tobriner won gold in 21.88 to Jones' 21.94. The bronze went to Stefan Nystrand (SWE) in 21.97. "It feels great to win!" said Wildman-Tobriner. "I knew if I was close I had a chance." The Stanford University swimmer lists wood-crafting as one of his hobbies and said that with a name like 'Wildman', "there's no doubt that's what I'd be!"

Women's 200 Back

Two women got close to Krisztina Egerszegi's (HUN) World Record, only to fade in the final 20 metres where the backstroke legend flew. The double-silver medallist in this event from the last 2 World Champs, Margaret Hoelzer (USA) finally won gold, and she did it in a new Championship Record of 2:07.16. In for silver was defending World and Olympic Champion Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) in 2:07.54, making the 2 woman the 2nd and 4th fastest swimmers of all-time in this event. Bronze went to Reiko Nakamura (JPN) in 2:08.54.

The splits:
Egerszegi 1991: 30.55, 1:02.34, 1:34.79, 2:06.62
Hoelzer 2007: 30.38, 1:02.79, 1:35.05, 2:07.16
Coventry 2007: 30.22, 1:02.61, 1:35.38, 2:07.54

Women's 50 Breast Semi-Finals

The Aussie crowd was cheering like it was a final for their women who each won their respective semi. Tarnee White (AUS) won semi #1 in 31.14 while Leisel Jones won semi #2 in 30.94 as she goes for the breast sweep. Jessica Hardy (USA) has lane 5 for tomorrow's final with her 31.09 while Janne Schafer (GER) sits 4th in 31.23.

Men's 100 Fly Final

Michael Phelps (USA) finally wins! The 100 fly at the World Champs that is. The honour has gone to Ian Crocker (USA) for the last 2 World Champs, but this year, it was a powerful final kick by Phelps which got him to the wall first in a new best time of 50.77 to Crocker's 50.82. "That's the first time I've broken 51 and faster than I won my Olympic medal in," said Phelps. "I definitely enjoy swimming in this country, it is very special, so thank you. You have all definitely made it fun for the athletes." After losing to Crocker in this event at the 2003 World Champs, Phelps stuck a picture of Crocker on his bedroom wall to give him daily inspiration in his quest for Olympic victory. With the tables now turned, perhaps it is Crocker who will have the poster on his wall heading to Beijing. In for the bronze was Albert Subirats Altes (VEN) in 51.82.

Women's 50 Free Semi-Finals

Marleen Veldhuis (NED) will swim in lane 4 tomorrow night with Kara Lynn Joyce (USA) in 5. The 2 women are separated by 1/100th: Veldhuis at 24.79 and Joyce in 24.80. Both women won their semi-final with Joyce just ecstatic about her swim, a new best time and the second fastest American time ever, behind Dara Torres. Natalie Coughlin (USA) squeaked into lane 1 with her 25.08, while 50 Fly champ Therese Alshammar (SWE) is 3rd with a 24.83.

Men's 50 Back Semi-Finals

Gerhard Zandberg (GER) won the first semi in 25.26 followed by Matthew Clay (GBR) in 25.48. The second semi went to Liam Tancock (GBR) in 25.08 followed by Steffen Driesen (GER) in 25.21. Both Ryan Lochte (USA) and Aaron Peirsol (USA) World Champions in the 200 and 100 back scratched from the semis.

Women's 800 Free Final

There's a reason why Janet Evans (USA) is a legend; because after almost 20 years, the best women in the world still can't break her records. With all eyes on Laure Manaudou (FRA), the surprise was Kate Ziegler (USA) who took it out hard with Manaudou and then out-sprinted her on the last 50 to win in the 2nd-fastest performance of all-time, 8:18.52 to Manaudou's 8:18.80. Their splits:

Evans 1989: 1:00.20, 2:02.53, 3:05.10, 4:07.92, 5:10.27, 6:12.82, 7:15.44, 8:16.22
Ziegler 2007: 59.61, 2:01.90, 3:04.81, 4:08.04, 5:11.22, 6:14.94, 7:18.49, 8:18.52
Manaudou '07: 58.91 2:01.24, 3:04.31, 4:07.90, 5:11.26, 6:14.98, 7:18.41, 8:18.80

"Last year I went an 8:24 and I knew it was not my best swim," said Ziegler. "I am just so excited right now! Janet [Evans] is such a hero of mine, so just to be mentioned in the same sentence as her is great!"

Women's 4x100 Medley Relay

The Aussie crowd finally sounded like a crowd that can lift a swimmer out of the water. Tonight they lifted 4 women to a new World Record of 3:55.74. Emily Seebohm, Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper and Libby Lenton combined to lower Australia's record from last year's Commonwealth Games. USA was second in 3:58.31 with China in for bronze in 4:01.97.