Phelps, Hoff Break Individual Medley World Records at World Champs
Team USA Leaves Melbourne With 36 Medals, Breaks 12 World Records
MELBOURNE, Australia – Two more world records fell on the final night of swimming at the FINA World Championships, as the Baltimore duo of Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff both took down world marks in the 400m individual medley. It was Phelps’ seventh gold medal and fifth world record for the week, a performance that earned him Male Swimmer of the Meet honors.
Team USA collected five medals on Sunday to bring the week’s total to 36 – 20 gold, 13 silver and three bronze. Both the total medal and gold medal counts tied the 1978 world championship team.
Competing in his 16th race of the week, Phelps set his fourth individual world record of the week in the 400m IM, leading from the onset. Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), who was swimming next to Phelps in lane five, caught up in the backstroke leg, but Phelps turned it on in the freestyle lead to finish in 4:06.22, just four-hundredths ahead of the previous world record of 4:06.26 that he set at the 2004 Olympic Games. Lochte was more than three seconds behind Phelps in 4:09.74 for the silver medal – his third of the meet – with Luca Marin of Italy touching in third place (4:09.88).
Phelps rewrote the record books with his performance this week in Melbourne, shattering four individual world records in his five events in addition to one relay world record.
Hoff put together her own pile of records this week, capturing her first individual world record tonight after swimming on the 800m freestyle relay that set the world mark on Thursday. In the 400m IM, 17-year-old Hoff trailed by eight-tenths after the butterfly, but used a strong backstroke leg to pull ahead of the field. By the 250-mark, she led by almost three seconds and finished in 4:32.89, breaking Ukranian Yana Klochkova’s seven-year-old world record of 4:33.59 by seven-tenths. Hoff’s time obliterated the rest of the field, as Russia’s Yana Martynova was the silver medalist (4:40.14), and Stephanie Rice of Australia earned the bronze (4:41.19).
“I just cannot believe it,” Hoff said. “I heard the crowd during the race and thought, ‘I must have been good.’ Then I saw the board. It is a dream come true.”
The Americans went 1-3 in the women’s 50m breaststroke, as Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) earned her first world title. Hardy touched in 30.63, while teammate and bronze medalist Tara Kirk (Bremerton, Wash.) was four-tenths behind in 31.05. Australian Leisel Jones claimed the silver medal in 30.70.
Larsen Jensen (Bakersfield, Calif.) narrowly missed a medal in the 1500m freestyle, finishing in fourth place with a time of 14:52.98. Mateusz Sawrymowicz of Poland captured the gold medal in 14:45.94, and Yuri Prilukov of Russia and David Davies of Great Britain rounded out the top three. Erik Vendt (North Easton, Mass.) finished in eighth place with a time of 15:07.76.
In the women’s 50m free, Libby Lenton of Australia captured gold in 24.53. Kara Lynn Joyce (Ann Arbor, Mich.) was the top American finisher in fifth place with a time of 24.83, and Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.) was eighth in 25.31.
No Americans competed in the men’s 50m backstroke, as Gerhard Zandberg of Russia won gold in 24.98. Australia won the men’s 400m medley relay with a time of 3:34.93, more than four seconds off the world record. The United States was disqualified from the morning prelims and did not compete in finals.
Footage of the world and American record performances, as well as all the action from tonight’s finals, is available on-demand at wcsn.com. Team USA continues on to Sydney, Australia tomorrow where it will compete in the third Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool at the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Center. The Duel will be broadcast on NBC on April 21-22, 2007.
As the National Governing Body for competitive swimming in the United States, USA Swimming formulates the rules, implements policies and procedures, conducts national championships, disseminates safety and sports medicine information and selects athletes to represent the United States in international competition. USA Swimming has more than 300,000 members nationwide and sanctions more than 7,000 events each year. For more information, visit usaswimming.org.
Contact: Sara Hunninghake (719-440-2424 cell / email@example.com)
photo Getty Images