July 30, 2009
On day two the swimmers of the USA World Championship Team and the rest of the world picked up just where they left off the night before. World Records were bested in five of the eight events contested today as the men’s 100 breast, women’s 100 fly, women’s 100 breast, women’s 100 back, and the women’s 200 I.M. were rewritten.
The men’s 100 breaststroke saw Brenton Rickard of Australia lower the global mark with an impressive 58.58 while American Eric Shanteau bested the 59 second barrier for the second time in two days with a fourth place finish and a time of 58.98 (just .02 off is American Record from last night).
Sarah Sjostrom completed a sweep of the women’s 100 fly with three swims and three World Records. This time she lowered her global best to a blazing 56.06 seconds. American Dana Vollmer finished fifth in an American Record time of 56.94.
The big news of the men’s 100 back was not who made it to the championship final, but who didn’t. World Record holder Aaron Peirsol finished ninth and out of the running for the coveted gold. A stunned Peirsol said he backed off too much and thought that he was either in first or second in his semi final heat, and not fourth as it turned out. American teammate Matt Grevers lowered his p.b. with a 52.82 and qualified fifth for tomorrow’s finale.
The women’s 100 breast saw a pair of Americans advance in Rebecca Soni and Kasey Carlson. Soni did it in style by setting the all time mark with a 1:04.84 effectively erasing the great Leisel Jones from the record books in two consecutive years (200 breast in Beijing). Carlson qualified seventh for tomorrow’s final.
Next up was the men’s 50 fly. While there were no Americans in the final, there was Serbian citizen and American trained Millorad Cavic leading the pack as he clinched gold in 22.67. The silver also went to an American University schooled and Australian citizen Matt Targett (22.73). The bronze went to current World Record holder Rafael Munoz of Spain (22.88).
The semi’s of the men’s 200 free hosted 400 free World Record holder Paul Biedermann and 200 free World Record holder Michael Phelps. Biedermann was the top qualifier for tomorrow’s final in 1:43.65, with Phelps landing the 3rd seed with a 1:45.23. American David Walters went after it but faded to 12th with a 1:46.61.
The 100 backstroke provided the next World Record as Anastasia Zueva of Russia lowered Kirsty Coventry’s record by a full three tenths of a second. Her time of 58.48 gives her the first seed by three tenths of a second as well. 15-year old American Liz Pelton (look out for her in the future) finished her 100 back run by landing in the 13th slot with a 1:00.51. American Hayley McGregory advanced to the final with a 59.55 (seventh).
The last event of the night was loaded as the 2008 Olympic Gold and Silver medalists were lurking for upstart Arianna Kukors who was now in possession of both the American and World standards. It was a hotly contested race, but Rice and Kukors battled it out until Kukors pulled away in the freestyle to slash another second off her global mark (2:06.15). Rice tied the previous mark with a sliver medal winning time of 2:07.03. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu kept Kirsty Coventry off the awards podium by racing to a 2:07.46.
Side note – An interesting study in sociology has been inadvertently conducted at the FINA World Championships this week. Near the practice pool is the athlete lounge / massage area. Well the lounge is at one end of the massage zone and is a 20 x 60 foot room encased in glass. More importantly, they serve fruit, delicious croissants and water. Most importantly is that the room is air conditioned and has wireless Internet. Hallelujah! I’m back in the 21st century! So while checking e-mails this morning and cooling off in the already stifling Rome heat (8:30 a.m.), I watched as some coaches and athletes would enter the room and close the door behind them. Others would merely open the door and enter without closing the door behind them and in doing so protecting the cherished cooler air. Many people were getting upset (the Canadians, British, and myself), while others were completely oblivious to the social foul they had just committed (Chinese, Serbians, Croatians, Swedish). I sat in amazement as I could not understand how they could be so insensitive and responsible to those who were cluttered around the portable air conditioning units that adorned each corner of the structure. Couldn’t they simply just read the sign on the door that said to close the door due to the air conditioning. Then it hit me; not everyone here can read English and not everyone here is used to air conditioning. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we are very fortunate in the States and we take for granted things that other countries are not used to and in some cases consider it a luxury reserved for the wealthy! I should have realized this the other day when Nathan Adrian was doing an all -ut 50 meter free during a practice session. As Coach Bottom started Nathan, I stood at the other end of the pool and made sure no one dove in and hopefully could manage the lane until the sprint was completed. Well as he approached, three European swimmers sat on the rope or wall dead in a rocketing Adrian’s path. I spoke to them and warned them of Nathan’s impending fury and not one of them moved. With about three meters to go it dawned on me that not everyone here speaks English. So I quickly let out a siren type scream, which got everyone’s attention and sent the rope hanging young lady from Uzbekistan diving under water until she surfaced three lanes away. Even I, the veteran of three World Championships and eight international trips, seem to forget that it’s not all about the Americans and our ways. Not everyone does things the way we do, even if our way is better. That is what is referred to as the “Ugly American” syndrome and by thinking that everyone speaks, thinks or conducts themselves the same was as us Americans makes me as ugly as anyone. I still wish they would shut the door!
Keep up the great efforts in and out of the pool!
Ohio Swimming & Diving
2009 World Championship Team Member