The second day was marred by scandal when world champion and world record-holder Samantha Riley of Australia was disqualified in the heats of the 100 breaststroke for "a repeated downward dolphin kick." An appeal was filed immediately by the Australian Team Manager, Terry Buck, but it was denied and the disqualification was accepted as official.
It turns out, however, that the Jury of Appeal, who had refused to look at video footage of the race, was composed entirely of American officials. A decidedly tacky move at a competition of this nature. The Australians were outraged and made no attempt to hide their feelings. Scott Volkers, Riley's coach, said, "I have no doubt in the world about her stroke, it's absolutely correct. The decision is ludicrous."
At a press conference, Riley, who had posted a time of 1:08.63 in the morning, fought back the tears. "I'm quite adamant I did nothing different, and I won't be changing anything for my other races. The thing that is most frustrating is that the referee said it was just for one stroke, and I don't know how he could say it was for one stroke over two laps. In another report he said it was for a couple of strokes, then for 25 metres, so he's really contradicting himself."
Of the bias on the Jury of Appeal, Aussie Head Coach Don Talbot said, "It's up to the host country to put people on the court of appeals. United States Swimming has been running this like a US nationals, with the same people running it. In Canada, they asked the other countries; in Australia, we'd do the same."
It came out that Riley had been disqualified once before at the 1991 Pan Pacs in Edmonton, also by an American judge. The disqualification was appealed and won and Riley swam the finals. Last year in Rome she won two gold medals, setting one world record, and no one had a problem with her stroke.
Talbot criticized the lack of consistency throughout the world as to what constitutes a legal breaststroke. He pointed out, "This stroke isn't new. It's been done many times before and in this country. The forerunner of what Sam is doing was Tracy Caulkins, a great swimmer. She swam exactly the same technique and was never d.q.'d in this country."
Said Riley, "It's really something I have to put behind me, and I'm going to try to do a great 200 on Sunday. I still don't believe I've done anything wrong. It has certainly made me a lot more determined."
Ray Essick, Executive Director of US Swimming responded to the accusations by revising the Jury of Appeal later in the evening. Too late for Sam, but a necessary revision given the surprising number of disqualifications to come.
The USA got off to a better start on Day 2 with a one-two finish in the women's 100 freestyle. Jenny Thompson came back from a mediocre Trials to outshine her rivals Amy van Dyken and Angel Martino (who failed to make the final). She won the event in 55.31.
Amy, Jenny and Suzu receiving medals on podium.
For larger 56k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa
Van Dyken was second in 56.13, while Suzu Chiba of Japan was third in 56.17. Van Dyken commented on her race, "I'm really happy with it. I went my best time this morning and I just went out there had fun and raced. I was glad we could get a silver and a gold for the US."
Shannon Shakespeare of Canada was 7th in 56.61.
No question about it, the Americans dominated the sprints. Gary Hall Jr. took front stage with his teammate Jon Olsen. Both men had black bands painted on their left arms in memory of Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist of the legendary group the Grateful Dead, who died on August 9. While Olsen had the fastest time in the heats, Hall went for broke in the evening to win in 49.47. Olsen was right behind him in 49.56.
Hall dedicated the win to the late Garcia, saying, "That one was for him." Third place went to Chris Fydler of Australia with a time of 49.95. Stephen Clarke of Canada was 8th in 51.01.
The race went on without Samantha Riley. While she was disappointed not to have the chance to race Riley in the final, Penny Heyns of South Africa made the most out of the swim on her own. She had already set a new Pan Pacific record in the heats of 1:08.21, and went on to better her time, winning the gold in 1:08.09.
Penelope Heyns of South Africa on her way to setting a new meet record in the 100m breaststroke. For larger 78k photo of Penelope Heyns click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa
"I came here hoping to do my best time and that's exactly what I've done, so I'm pretty happy. Along with that I was hoping to get the experience of racing Sam Riley...we don't get very many opportunities to race each other. If we're lucky we might meet up with one another once, or maybe twice before the Olympics. The win just didn't feel as good as if Samantha had been in the race."
Guylaine Cloutier claimed the first silver for Canada with her time of 1:09.48, proving that after 10 years in international competition, she is still a contender. A personal best and an Olympic pre-selection time, an effusive Cloutier could not contain her excitement. "I'm such a happy girl right now. I wanted to go under a 1:09.5. This morning it didn't happen, but I just listened to my coach and did exactly what he told me, and here I am!"
In third place was 13 year-old Amanda Beard of the USA, with a time of 1:09.9. "It really is a little overwhelming for me," she said. "I was hoping I would win a medal."
Lisa Flood of Canada finished 4th in 1:10.06.
Atlanta native Eric Wunderlich of Team USA did not let the home crowd down in a close race with Philip Rogers of Australia. Wunderlich touched in 1:01.80, a mere 3/100 of a second ahead of Rogers. "First best time in six years," said Wunderlich, "I'll take it. It's great to do it here in this pool and set the pool record for next year."
Eric Wunderlich on the way to winning the men 's 100m breaststroke.
For larger 78k photo of Eric Wunderlich click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa
Third place went to Kurt Grote, also of the USA, with a time of 1:02.19. Jon Cleveland of Canada was 7th in 1:03.08.
It was a case of "outside smoke" in the women's 400 IM as Japan's Fumie Kurotori took top honours, winning the event from lane 8. Moving into the lead at 200 m, Kurotori widened her margin in the breaststroke, and managed to hang on in the freestyle, touching in 4:44.22, ahead of Allison Wagner of the USA (4:45.52). "I'm really happy and really surprised to win this event. After the race, I couldn't believe that I won, but after the ceremony when I was standing on the platform, I began to believe it."
Fumie Kurotori on the way to winning the women's 400m I.M. from lane 8.
For larger 64k photo of Fumie Kurotori click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa
Elli Overton of Australia took the bronze with her time of 4:46.24.
Canada's Joanne Malar was not at her best and finished out of the medals, in 4th place with 4:46.5. Her personal best time of 4:43.64, posted in March in Argentina, would have won the event. Canada's other finalist was Nancy Sweetnam, who placed 7th in 4:48.74.
World record-holder Thomas Dolan knew what he had to do to win his specialty. Although his morning swim of 4:17.26 was relatively easy, he had some breathing problems, so he settled for a win that was well off his best. His time of 4:14.77 nevertheless established a new Pan Pacific record. He said, "With that time, I'm happy. Always have to be happy with a win."
His teammate Eric Namesnik, took the silver medal in 4:15.39. The bronze went to Matthew Dunn of Australia in 4:18.83.
Curtis Myden of Canada was unable to stir up the punch he'd had two weeks earlier in Winnipeg, and was forced to settle for 4th place, also well off his best (4:16.90) in 4:19.78. Owen von Richter was Canada's other finalist, finishing 7th in 4:24.10.
The United States women were ahead from the start after Cristina Teuscher's 1:59.65 lead-off, better than her individual swim the evening before. Followed by Melanie Valerio, Trina Jackson, and Jenny Thompson, the US set a new Pan Pacific record of 8:02.68 to win the gold medal. Australia was second in 8:03.75, while Canada was third in 8:07.79, setting a new national record. Katie Brambley's lead-off of 2:01.46 was the fastest split; she was followed by Marianne Limpert, Shannon Shakespeare, and Joanne Malar.
The bald Aussies left a sour taste in the mouth of the Americans by winning the 4x200 freestyle relay, the first time since the 1956 Olympics that they have managed that feat. The team of Malcolm Allen, Glen Housman, Matthew Dunn, and Daniel Kowalski set a new Pan Pacific record of 7:17.52.
Austalian 4x200m relay members congratulate eachother in their country's first relay win over the U.S. team since the 1956 Olympics.
For larger 72k photo of the Australian relay team click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa
Team USA was second in 7:17.88. Their anchor, Tom Dolan, called the race a "wake-up call for the USA." New Zealand finished third in 7:27.90, with anchor Danyon Loader outtouching Team Canada's Curtis Myden.