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August 23, 2004

South African 'heroes of the pool' in swimsuit drama

"With the spectre of disciplinary action hanging over them from swimming officials back home, South Africa's medal-winning stars have been lauded at a dinner in Athens.

The 4x100m freestyle relay team of Ryk Neethling, Darian Townsend, Roland Schoeman and Lyndon Ferns, along with Zimbabwe's triple medallist, Kirsty Coventry, were the stars at a dinner hosted last night by the National Olympic Committee of South Africa to celebrate the victories by the two southern African nations.

Those celebrations were dimmed somewhat by the news that the four South Africans would be subject to a disciplinary hearing by Swimming SA. This was because they had not used the swimsuits made by the organisation's sponsor, Speedo, and did not swim in the events for which Swimming SA had entered them.

'We have different opinions on certain things'
The four apparently each used an Arena swimsuit, which they said was "faster" than the Speedo outfit Swimming SA wanted them to wear, in the relay.

As Neethling pointed out: "We came to Athens and did our jobs. We swam fast and won.""

Read more at 'Our 'heroes of the pool' in swimsuit drama

Posted by Darren at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

McDonald's strikes gold as US swimming star goes burger crazy

"Not everyone will be happy about this, but these are turning into a golden games for the golden arches.

As the "Official Restaurant" of the Olympic Games, McDonald's always expected to flip a few burgers in Athens.

It estimates that its three Olympic food service venues - at the Olympic village, the main stadium complex and the media centre - will get through "2m meat patties, 404,469 lbs of potatoes and 26,455 lbs of lettuce" during the Games.

As part of what McDonald's calls its "proud tradition of serving the athletes of the world", the company is also helping athletes to plan their meals at the Games with "nutritional information and suggestions for meal combinations".

What the company cannot have bargained for - or indeed dreamed of - is that US swimmer Michael Phelps, the phenomenon who won six golds and two bronzes in the Olympic pool, would proclaim the end of his active participation at Athens with the words: "It's McDonald's time".

After his first day off, a demob happy Phelps was delighted to provide more information.

"I had a Big Mac and that's all I had. I had McDonald's for both meals today. Two meals so far... double cheeseburgers.""

Read more at McDonald's strikes gold as US swimming star goes burger crazy

Posted by Darren at 04:41 PM | Comments (26)

August 22, 2004

Grant Hackett Sets Olympic Record in 1500m

"For years they Aussies have dominated the distance events like they were a private fiefdom owned lock, stock and barrel by Australia, Inc. No foreigners permitted, thank you.

The Aussie greats of the last 15 years - Perkins, Housman, Kowalski and Hackett -- more ofen than not would simply beat up on their foreign competitors, measuring their victories in pool-lengths, rather than seconds or tenths of a second.

And the greatest of all these distance denizens has been one Grant Hackett -- world record-holder, current world champion, defending Olympic champion, undefeated in seven years. Unassailable. Invincible.

Hackett won his pet event today, and he carved 8-hundredths of a second off Kieren Perkins' 1992 Olympic record in the process, touching in 14:43.40. But the days of Aussie dominance are gone, thanks to the efforts of two -- no, make that three -- teenagers separated by thousands of miles but sharing a determinataion to bring the Aussie distance dominance to a quick close. "

Read more at Hackett Sets Olympic Record in 1500, Just Nips Jensen, Davies

Posted by Darren at 05:57 PM | Comments (5)

Aussie swim team best since '56

"THE Australian swimming team finished the Athens Olympics as the nation's most successful since the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Australia won 7 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze in the pool to once again finish second on the medal table behind the powerful Americans (12-9-7).

"We've done very well here. After all the hype of Sydney ... it's a significant achievement for us," said Australian head coach, Leigh Nugent.

Grant Hackett leaves Athens as only the third swimmer in history to win back-to-back Olympic 1500m freestyle titles behind American Michael Burton and fellow Queenslander Kieren Perkins.

His victory tonight in 14 minutes 43.40 seconds was less than two seconds ahead of American Larsen Jensen. Nevertheless, the triumph allows Australia to truly claim the race as its own.

Going into the Athens Games, Australia and the United States were equal with seven Olympic 1500m titles.

But Hackett's win on the last night of the swimming program in Greece puts Australia ahead with eight."

Read more at Aussie swim team best since '56

Posted by Darren at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

Curtain falls on Thorpe's Olympics

"IAN Thorpe's Athens Olympics are over after the men's medley relay team failed to qualify for the final, finishing ninth fastest.

Thorpe didn't get to swim the relay, Australia resting him for the final on the last day of the eight-day swimming program tomorrow.

But the heat line-up of Matt Welsh, Jim Piper, Adam Pine and Michael Klim failed to get the Australians into the eight-lane final, clocking the ninth fastest time 3min 39.14sec.

They were 0.29sec behind the eighth fastest qualifiers, of the Ukraine (3min 38.85sec).

Nevertheless, Thorpe will fly home as Australia's greatest Olympian, ahead of Dawn Fraser, with a total of five gold, three silver and a bronze from two Olympics."

Read more at Curtain falls on Thorpe's Olympics

Posted by Darren at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

Alexander Popov set for his last Olympic race

"Just after midday today in Athens one of the greatest swimmers of his generation will hit the pool for possibly his last Olympic race.

At 32, Alexander Popov of Russia already has nine Olympic medals - four gold and five silver. He races today in the heats of the 4x100m medley relay, still trying to come to terms with his failure to qualify for tonight's 50m freestyle final.

Having already missed out on the final of the 100m, this is surely the end for the swimmer who first won gold at the Barcelona games in 1992 in the 50m and 100m freestyle. He went on to dominate these sprints during the 1990s, retaining the titles he had won in 1992 and four years later at the Atlanta games.

This is not the first time his swimming obituary has been written. He was stabbed shortly after the Atlanta games following a row with a roadside watermelon seller in Moscow, and some thought the injuries he suffered would end his career - he was, after all, a veteran at 24."

Read more at Popov set for his last Olympic race

Posted by Darren at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)

Michael Phelps pulls out of relay

"Michael Phelps , who has won five gold medals in the Olympic pool, said Friday he was pulling out of Saturday's 4x100 meter medley relay final to give team mate Ian Crocker the chance to swim.

Having swum in the relay heats, Phelps would still get a medal and so stay on course for an Olympic swimming record eight in one Games if the American team finishes in the top three on Saturday.

Phelps, who beat Crocker in a desperately close 100 meter butterfly final Friday, said he wanted his team mate to have the spot because he had not been feeling well when he swam in the U.S. 4x100 freestyle relay squad, who were beaten into third place in the final last Sunday.

"I wanted to give him another chance," Phelps said."

Read more at Swimming: Phelps pulls out of relay

Posted by Darren at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2004

Michael Phelps Wins Medley for Fourth Gold

"Michael Phelps led from start to finish to win his fourth gold medal of the Athens Olympics with a comfortable victory in the 200 meters individual medley on Thursday.

Phelps, who stayed on course for a record eight medals at Athens, took charge on the opening butterfly leg and was never seriously challenged as he swept home in an Olympic record one minute 57.14 seconds."

Read more at Michael Phelps Wins Medley for Fourth Gold

Posted by Darren at 04:29 AM | Comments (20)

Leisel Jones takes silver

"LEISEL Jones's bold challenge for an Olympic gold medal fell just short as she took silver in the 200m breaststroke overnight.

The 18-year-old Australian took the race out hard but was overtaken in the final lap by American world recordholder Amanda Beard.

Jones clocked 2m23.60sec to finish 0.33sec behind Beard.

The Queenslander's best time of 2m22.96sec set during heavy training in Brisbane about six weeks ago would have been enough for the gold overnight.

She was ahead of Beard by about a second at the final turn but wasn't able to hold off the American, who's known for her scorching last lap."

Read more at Jones takes silver

Posted by Darren at 04:06 AM | Comments (0)

Jodie Henry wins Women's 100m Freestyle Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Jodie Henry from Australia

The winner of the Silver Medal: Inge de Bruijn from Netherlands

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Natalie Coughlin from United States

Posted by Darren at 03:49 AM | Comments (31)

Michael Phelps wins Men's 200m Individual Medley Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Michael Phelps from United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: Ryan Lochte from United States

The winner of the Bronze Medal: George Bovell from Trinidad and Tobago

Posted by Darren at 03:35 AM | Comments (0)

Aaron Piersol wins Men's 200m Backstroke Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Aaron Peirsol from USA

The winner of the Silver Medal: Markus Rogan from Austria

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Razvan Florea from Romania

Aaron Peirsol was disqualified from the 200m Backstroke after finishing in first place. He was then reinstated into the Gold medal position after the judge who disqualified him did not give adequate information in the language of FINA to justify his disqualification.

Posted by Darren at 03:04 AM | Comments (16)

Amanda Beard wins Women's 200m Breaststroke Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Amanda Beard from United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: Leisel Jones from Australia

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Anne Poleska from Germany

Posted by Darren at 02:48 AM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2004

Japanese sensation -Kosuke Kitajima - tells U.S.: 'Now keep quiet' after 2nd gold

"History-maker Kosuke Kitajima got even, not mad at least, not too mad.

After destroying arch-rival Brendan Hansen for the second time in four days to win his second gold of the Athens Olympics he told the Americans: Now keep quiet!

Kitajima stormed to the 100 meters breaststroke title at the weekend but was angry at American accusations that he had used an illegal dolphin kick at the start of the final.

That bottled-up frustration exploded on Wednesday when the 21-year-old stormed to victory in a grudge 200 final, winning in an Olympic record of 2:09.44 seconds.

That talk about the kick just motivated me all the more to stick it to them, said Kitajima, who became the first Japanese swimmer to win two gold medals at a single Olympics.

They can stop talking now."

Read more at Japanese sensation tells U.S.: 'Now keep quiet' after 2nd gold

Posted by Darren at 11:22 PM | Comments (2)

Hall, Lezak lead in 50 free; Popov, Hoogie crash out

"American Gary Hall Jr., the defending Olympic champion, and teammate Jason Lezak qualified for the 50-meter freestyle semifinals Thursday, but two of their biggest rivals failed to advance.

Two-time Olympic champion Alexander Popov of Russia and Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands, the 2000 bronze medalist, didn't make the 16-man evening semifinal.

Americans Michael Phelps and Ian Crocker moved on to the evening 100 butterfly semifinal, while Diana Munz and Kalyn Keller made the 800 freestyle final, set for Friday.

Van den Hoogenband, the 100 free gold medalist, was 17th in 22.56 -- just three-hundredths of a second out of the last berth. Popov, 32, tied for 18th with a time of 22.58 seconds -- well off the world record of 21.64 he set in June 2000."

Read more at Hall, Lezak lead in 50 free; Popov, Hoogie crash out

Posted by Darren at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Possible Eighth Medal Chance for Phelps

"Michael Phelps's chances of winning a record eight medals at the Athens Olympics were given a big boost on Thursday when U.S. team officials said he might swim the heats of the 4x100 medley relay.

The 19-year-old American would have missed out on swimming the relay final if he finished behind team mate Ian Crocker in the 100 butterfly final on Friday night. The possible decision to swim him in the heats means he will share any medals the final foursome get.

"We're standing on that side of the equation," U.S. head men's coach Eddie Reese said when asked if Phelps would swim in the qualifying heats."

Read more at Possible Eighth Medal Chance for Phelps

Posted by Darren at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps living up to the hype

"With a pair of gold medals in the pool at the Athens Olympics Tuesday, American teen swimming sensation Michael Phelps has truly emerged from the shadow of Mark Spitz.

Phelps now has three gold and two bronze in Athens, and still has a shot at tying gymnast Alexander Dityatin's Olympic record of eight medals in one Games.

The 19-year-old from Baltimore started his golden day by taking the 200 metre butterfly in an Olympic record 1:54.04 seconds. Later, his strong lead swim helped the U.S. edge Australia in the 4x200 freestyle relay."

Read more at Phelps living up to the hype

Posted by Darren at 03:42 PM | Comments (51)

US smashes 4x200m relay record, Australia 4th

"Australia has narrowly missed a medal in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay at the Olympics in Athens as the United States broke a 17-year-old world record to take gold.

The American team of Natalie Coughlin, Carly Piper, Kaitlin Sandeno and Dana Vollmer broke the oldest record in the book, setting a new mark of 7:53.42 minutes. China was second and Germany third.

Petria Thomas swam an heroic final leg to take the Australians to within 0.05 seconds of a medal, just minutes after she was presented with the silver medal she won in the 200m butterfly.

In finishing fourth, the Australian team of Alice Mills, Elka Graham, Shayne Reese and Thomas broke the Commonwealth record.

The US quartet sliced more than two seconds off the previous record of 7:55.47 mins set by East Germany in 1987."

Read more at US smashes 4x200m relay record, Australia 4th

Posted by Darren at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

"Ian Thorpe now has the full set of Olympic medals, winning bronze after coming surprisingly close in trying to win the Games treble that is the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle events. In winning bronze in the 100 metres final, Thorpe swam his best ever time. Also in the pool overnight, an amazing swim from Jodie Henry."

Read more at Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

Posted by Darren at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

"Ian Thorpe now has the full set of Olympic medals, winning bronze after coming surprisingly close in trying to win the Games treble that is the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle events. In winning bronze in the 100 metres final, Thorpe swam his best ever time. Also in the pool overnight, an amazing swim from Jodie Henry."

Read more at Ian Thorpe wins bronze in 100 metres freestyle

Posted by Darren at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

US win 4x 200m Freestyle Relay Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: China

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Germany

Posted by Darren at 04:23 AM | Comments (0)

Pieter Van Den Hoogenband wins Men's 100m Freestyle Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Pieter Van Den Hoogenband from Netherlands

The winner of the Silver Medal: Roland Mark Schoeman from South Africa

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Ian Thorpe from Australia

Posted by Darren at 04:21 AM | Comments (0)

Kosuke Kitajima wins more Gold

"Japan's Kosuke Kitajima (koh-SOO'-kee kit-uh-JEE'-mah) has his second gold medal of the Olympics. He won the 200-meter breaststroke, completing a sweep of the Olympic breaststroke events.
His winning time was an Olympic-record two minutes, nine-point-44 seconds.

The old mark of two-ten-point-16 was set by American Mike Barrowman at the Barcelona Games."

Read more at Kitajima wins more gold

Posted by Darren at 04:04 AM | Comments (0)

Van den Hoogenband golden again

"Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands defended his Olympic title in men's 100-meter freestyle Wednesday night, winning the gold medal against a talented field.

American Brendan Hansen won bronze in the men's 200-meter breaststroke earlier in the evening.

Van den Hoogenband, who won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games, bested silver medalist Russian Roland Mark Schoeman and Aussie Ian Thorpe, who won bronze. Schoeman was on a world-record pace after the first 50 meters, but van den Hoogenband sprinted ahead of him in the final 50 to finish with a time of 48.17 seconds, .06 seconds ahead of the Russian."

Read more at Van den Hoogenband golden again; Hansen wins bronze

Posted by Darren at 03:58 AM | Comments (1)

Brits blame their Aussie coach

"Australia may have got off to a pulsating start to the Games but not so poor old Great Britain whose athletes' performances so far - at last count they had three medals, none of them gold - have been so disastrous that if you pick up the English newspapers you need to turn about six pages in before you even learn that the Olympics are being held.

The swimmers have been particularly disappointing, with Stephen Parry the only one to make the podium so far, having won bronze in the 200-metre butterfly, and other big hopes such as Darren Mew, James Gibson and Katy Sexton falling by the wayside. And guess who's got the blame for the dearth of medals? Yep, Australia. Well, not the country as such, but Great Britain's highly paid swimming supremo, Aussie Bill Sweetenam who copped one for his corner this week when Mark Foster, the world silver medallist, who missed out on an Athens trip after falling out with him, blamed the Aussie totally for what has happened. According to Foster, Sweetenham's disciplined coaching style has backfired, that it has "scared the crap out of them all". "All we've been hearing is how this unrelenting, disciplined approach will reap rewards in Athens," Foster told London's Sun. "Well it's not looking good at the moment." Foster claims he is "in the shape of my life at the moment" and would have won a medal had he been picked. "Bill wanted us to peak for the trials in April. And that's no good for Olympics in August," said Foster. "Questions need to be asked and you have to look at Bill's position." There is, however, a footnote. As dreadful as a one-bronze swimming haul sounds it's not as bad as how the Brits fared in Sydney. Their medal tally then was 0-0-0."

Read more at Brits blame their Aussie coach

Posted by Darren at 03:56 AM | Comments (1)

Otylia Jedrzejczak wins Men's 200m Butterfly Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Otylia Jedrzejczak from Poland

The winner of the Silver Medal: Petria Thomas from Australia

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Yuko Nakanishi from Japan

Posted by Darren at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

Jodie Henry Breaks 100m Freestyle World Record

Jodie Henry from Australia has just broken the World Record in the 100m Freestyle in her Semi Final for the event.

Posted by Darren at 02:45 AM | Comments (5)

Kosuke Kitajima wins Men's 200m Breaststroke Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Kosuke Kitajima from Japan

The winner of the Silver Medal: Daniel Gyurta from Hungary

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Brendan Hansen from United States

Posted by Darren at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

Endurance swimmers short-changed at Olympics: Hackett

"Australia's Olympic 1,500 metres champion Grant Hackett says long-distance swimmers are being robbed of their chance to shine at the Athens Games.

Hackett said the Olympic program was unfair to endurance swimmers who were given only one event to showcase their talents, while the sprinters and middle-distance swimmers could pick and choose as many as they liked.

American teenager Michael Phelps has been the leading light in the pool in Athens after entering eight events and already has five medals after just four days, but the 1,500m is on the last day of the swimming competition.

"It's a bit unfair," Hackett said. "The sprinters have the 50 and the 100 and the middle-distance guys have the 200 and the 400.

"We only have the 1,500 but we should have the 800 as well.""

Read more at Endurance swimmers short-changed at Olympics: Hackett

Posted by Darren at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

US win Men's 4x 200m Freestyle Gold Medal

The US team has just won the Men's 4x 200m Freestyle Gold Medal in a close race from Australia.

The winner of the Gold Medal: United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: Australia

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Italy \

Posted by Darren at 04:04 AM | Comments (0)

Yana Klochkova wins 200m Individual Medley Gold Medal

Yana Klochkova has just won the 200m Individual Medley Gold Medal.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Yana Klochkova from Ukraine

The winner of the Silver Medal: Amanda Beard from United States

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe

Posted by Darren at 03:50 AM | Comments (1)

Ian Thorpe just makes final

"IAN Thorpe has only just scraped into tomorrow's Olympic 100m freestyle final in Athens, denying freestyle god Alex Popov a spot in the race.

Thorpe, who's already won the 200-400m freestyle double at the Games, clocked a sluggish 49.21s to take the last place in the eight-man final - just 0.02s ahead of Popov.

Popov has more Olympic freestyle gold medals than any other man with four, after victories in the 50m and 100m freestyle at both the 1992 and '96 Olympics.

The 32-year-old Russian was by far the oldest man in the semi-final lineup - 14 years older than the youngest."

Read more at Thorpe just makes final

Posted by Darren at 03:23 AM | Comments (5)

Stephen Parry wins butterfly bronze

"Stephen Parry dug deep to win Britain's first Olympic swimming medal for eight years in the men's 200m butterfly.

The 27-year-old broke the Commonwealth record to take bronze, while Michael Phelps won his second Athens gold.

Phelps shrugged off the disappointment of losing to Ian Thorpe in the 200m freestyle by setting a new Olympic mark of one minute 54.04 seconds."

Read more at Parry wins butterfly bronze

Posted by Darren at 03:18 AM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps wins Men's 200m Butterfly Gold Medal

Michael Phelps has just won the Men's 200m Butterfly Gold Medal.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Michael Phelps from United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: Takashi Yamamoto from Japan

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Stephen Parry from United Kingdom (Great Britain)

Posted by Darren at 02:55 AM | Comments (0)

Camellia Potec wins Women's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Camellia Potec from Romania

The winner of the Silver Medal: Federica Pellegrini from Italy

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Solenne Figues from France

Posted by Darren at 02:49 AM | Comments (0)

'Pieter van den Hoogenband can break record'

"Pieter van den Hoogenband's coach thinks the Dutch sprinter could lower his own world record to win the 100 metres freestyle gold medal at the Athens Olympics this week. Follow Day 4 in the pool "

Read more at VDH Coach: 'Pieter can break record'

Posted by Darren at 01:37 AM | Comments (1)

Thorpe, Not Phelps, Has Chance to Win Eight Olympic Gold Medals

"Only one swimmer can leave Athens with eight Olympic gold medals, and it's not Michael Phelps.

While much of the pre-Games publicity focused on Phelps's bid to break Mark Spitz's record of seven victories at one Olympics, Ian Thorpe is the one with a chance for eight career gold medals before the Games are over.

The 21-year-old Australian captured his fifth Olympic title last night with a victory in the 200-meter freestyle, where he passed defending champion Pieter van den Hoogenband in the final 50 meters before a boisterous crowd of 11,000 at the Aquatic Center. Phelps finished third, ending the American's quest to match or break Spitz's mark from the 1972 Munich Games.

`` (Thorpe) was on top of his game,'' Phelps told reporters. ``He's one of the greatest swimmers of all time. He has a perfect stroke. It's unbelievable how he moves through the water.''

Thorpe won the most anticipated swimming matchup in Athens in an Olympic-record 1 minute, 44.71 seconds, breaking the mark of 1:45.35 that Van den Hoogenband set in Sydney four years ago. The 26-year-old Dutchman was second in 1:45.23, while Phelps swam a personal-best 1:45.32.

``It was a final that excited a lot of people on three continents, but I wasn't focusing too much on that,'' Thorpe said at a press conference. ``I wanted to concentrate on what I wanted to do in the race, and I did that.''"

Read more at Thorpe, Not Phelps, Has Chance to Win Eight Olympic Gold Medals

Posted by Darren at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

Phelps May Get $510,000 as Olympic Payments Multiply

"Michael Phelps, the U.S. swimmer who set five world records at last year's world championships, may still take home as much as $510,000 in bonuses after failing in his bid to win a record-tying seven Olympic gold medals.

The 19-year-old will get $135,000 from U.S. Olympic and swimming groups for winning a gold and two bronzes in his first three events in Athens, and will receive $75,000 for each victory in his remaining five races. Swimwear maker Speedo International Ltd. had offered a $1 million bonus for matching Mark Spitz's record for gold medals in a single Olympics.

Two decades after the International Olympic Committee allowed athletes to be paid, the number of sponsors and sporting groups offering cash incentives is growing. Olympic teams from Albania to Zimbabwe plan to reward medalists, with the Singapore National Olympic Council pledging S$1 million ($583,000) for a gold medal."

Read more at Phelps May Get $510,000 as Olympic Payments Multiply

Posted by Darren at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Swimmers Boost British Medal Hopes

"Team GB enjoyed a successful morning in the Olympic pool to boost their chances of a first swimming medal for eight years.

Georgina Lee, Ian Edmond and Chris Cook all qualified for the semi-finals of their respective events, while the mens 4x200m freestyle relay team advanced to tonights final in impressive fashion.

With Stephen Parry also going for glory in the final of the 200m butterfly after setting a British record in the semi-finals, the long wait for a second Team GB medal of these Games could soon be over.

Lee, who was unable to celebrate her 23rd birthday on Saturday by advancing to the latter stages of the 100m butterfly, fared much better over her preferred distance this morning."

Read more at Swimmers Boost British Medal Hopes

Posted by Darren at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

U.S. Misses Cut in Olympic 100 Free

"Top American sprinters Jason Lezak and Ian Crocker missed the cut in the Olympic 100-meter freestyle preliminaries Tuesday, a stunning blow for a country that had always done well in the event.

Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands and Australian Ian Thorpe advanced to the evening semifinal a day after dueling teenager Michael Phelps in the 200 freestyle, won by Thorpe. The Dutchman was second and Phelps third."

Read more at U.S. Misses Cut in Olympic 100 Free

Posted by Darren at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps' fall is latest big blow

"This is the downside of great expectations: They set you up for great failures.

And given Americas win-or-else mentality when it comes to sports, the Olympic Games could prove to be one magnificent disappointment for the highest-profile U.S. stars.

The U.S. men failed to even qualify for Athens in baseball, this countrys national pastime. The typically dominant U.S. track and field team has been rocked by a doping scandal. And Monday night, less than 24 hours after the U.S. mens basketball team was embarrassed by Puerto Rico in its Olympic opener, another American giant was toppled, if only by his own lofty goals.

Swimmer Michael Phelps picked up his third medal in three events Monday at the Olympic Aquatic Center. But after collecting his second bronze, any hopes of equaling Mark Spitzs record of seven gold medals along with perhaps tens of millions in additional endorsement money were dashed."

Read more at Phelps' fall is latest big blow

Posted by Darren at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

Thorpedo sinks Phelps

"Ian Thorpe touched the wall, pumped a fist in the air and let out a yell that all but said, "Take that!"

Two lanes over, Michael Phelps was draped over the rope, huffing and puffing as he looked at the scoreboard.
Phelps' improbable pursuit of Mark Spitz is over, Thorpedoed by the man in black.

Thorpe thwarted Phelp's attempt to take home seven gold medals, winning the 200-meter freestyle Monday while the kid from Baltimore was relegated to bronze for the second night in a row - a medal to be savored, for sure, but not the color he needed to catch Spitz.

With his long arms churning smoothly, his enormous feet kicking furiously, Thorpe passed Pieter van den Hoogenband in the homestretch, finishing with an Olympic record of 1 minute, 44.71 seconds. The Dutchman's time was 1:45.23 - good enough for silver.

Though Phelps swam the fastest 200 of his life, it wasn't enough in this ballyhooed showdown."

Read more at Thorpedo sinks Phelps

Posted by Darren at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

Lou Xuejuan wins Women's 100m Breaststroke Gold Medal

The winner of the Gold Medal: Luo Xuejuan from China

The winner of the Silver Medal: Brooke Hansen from Australia

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Leisel Jones from Australia

Posted by Darren at 03:27 AM | Comments (0)

Aaron Peirsol wins Men's 100m Backstroke Gold Medal

Aaron Peirsol from Austria has just won the Men's 100m Backstroke Gold Medal.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Aaron Peirsol from United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: Markus Rogan from Austria

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Tomomi Morita from Japan

Posted by Darren at 03:05 AM | Comments (0)

Natalie Coughlin wins Women's 100m Backstroke Gold Medal

Natalie Coughlin, from the US, has just won the Women's 100m Backstroke Gold Medal from Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe (their first Olympic Swimming Medal ever I'm told).

The winner of the Gold Medal: Natalie Coughlin from United States

The winner of the Silver Medal: Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Laure Manaudou from France

Posted by Darren at 02:57 AM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe wins Men's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal

Australia's Ian Thorpe has just taken out the Gold medal in the Men's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal beating Pieter Van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Ian Thorpe from Australia

The winner of the Silver Medal: Pieter Van den Hoogenband from Netherlands

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Michael Phelps from United States

Posted by Darren at 02:50 AM | Comments (4)

Thorpe: 'No-one can equal Spitz'

"Ian Thorpe says Michael Phelps' bid to match Mark Spitz's record seven Olympic golds is doomed to failure. The Australian has defended his 400m freestyle title and hopes to add another gold when he races arch-rivals Phelps and Pieter van den Hoogenband in Monday's 200m freestyle.

Sunday's 4x100m freestyle relay bronze, means the 19-year-old from Baltimore can only equal Spitz's tally, but Thorpe - the undisputed star in the pool in Sydney - says that is unlikely.

"Personally, I don't think anyone, one day, will be able to repeat what Spitz did, even though I'm certain that he [Phelps] will have a good Games," said Thorpe.

Monday's 200m freestyle final has been billed as a 'Thorpe v Phelps' showdown, but the 21-year-old Australian says - despite media hype to the contrary - he and the American are not rivals."

Read more at Thorpe: 'No-one can equal Spitz'

Posted by Darren at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)

Jenny Thompson has one more Individual Chance at Gold

"Jenny Thompson has one more individual race - the 50-meter freestyle - left in the most decorated career of any U.S. female swimmer. It will be her last chance to capture the individual gold medal that has eluded her in a career that has spanned four Olympics.

Thompson, 31, finished a sluggish fifth in the 100-meter butterfly last night, a race won by Petria Thomas of Australia in 57.72. Thompson was a full second behind, which left her medal count at 11, her gold-medal count - all from relay swims - at eight."

Read more at Testing Jenny's mettle

Posted by Darren at 01:26 AM | Comments (0)

Errors costly for Canadian softball team

"China scored four unearned runs in a pivotal sixth inning fuelled by a pair of errors to rally past Canada 4-2 in Olympic softball play Monday.

The loss was Canada's second straight after opening the Games with a win over Taiwan. They lost 2-0 to host nation Greece on Sunday. China improved to 2-1.

"It's disappointing," said catcher Erin Cumpstone of Saskatoon. "I don't think that's our team. We can play a heck of a lot better. That's a very good team, but we have a pretty good squad ourselves.""

Read more at Errors costly for Canadian softball team

Posted by Darren at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

British Swimmers Feel the Heat

"Great Britain swimming coach Bill Sweetenham talked about "kicking the ghost of Sydney into oblivion" before the pool action got under way in Athens.

But the haunting spectre of four years ago, when Team GB returned home with no swimming medals, is reluctant to go quietly.

It is not yet panic stations inside Camp Sweetenham, but the pressure is definitely building after the first two days of competition failed to yield a podium finish.

James Gibson and Darren Mew have been the best hopes of a medal so far but could only finish sixth and seventh respectively in the final of the men's 100m breaststroke."

Read more at GB swimmers feel heat

Posted by Darren at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

American 'sledging' only inspired South African swimmers

"The gold medal-winning, world record-breaking South African Olympic 4x100m freestyle relay team could have been forgiven if, over breakfast in the dining room in the athletes' village on Monday morning, they looked at the other swimming stars and said: "I told you so."

Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns and Darian Townsend are the toast of Olympic swimming on Monday morning after breaking the world record by half a second in three minutes 13,17 seconds and leaving the Olympic dreams of American teenage sensation Michael Phelps in tatters.

Phelps made the naive mistake of predicting he was going to beat Mark Spitz's record of seven golds at a single Games set in Munich in 1972. He also made the naive mistake of giving the South African team lip in the run-up to Sunday night's event.

The American team had shown earlier in the week that they feared South Africa by engaging in a little banter around the training pool. One team official said the Americans had engaged in what the Australians might call "swimming sledging", saying they were going to thrash them in Sunday night's race."

Read more at American 'sledging' only inspired SA swimmers

Posted by Darren at 11:23 PM | Comments (5)

Natalie Coughlin advances to finals

"While Michael Phelps' Olympic dream began to crumble Sunday night, Natalie Coughlin's may be about to blossom.

Coughlin, the Concord resident and former Cal star, set an Olympic record in the 100-meter backstroke semifinals, and she enters tonight's final brimming with confidence.

"I just need to get some rest, sleep in, relax and just have fun," Coughlin said of tonight's race for the gold medal."

Read more at Coughlin advances to finals

Posted by Darren at 10:01 PM | Comments (1)

Wind hampers heat times - Swimming

"The wind made conditions difficult at the Olympic Aquatic Centre today keeping times down across all heats.

Australia's Justin Norris finished third in his 200m butterfly heat behind US champion Michael Phelps and Pawel Korzeniowski of Poland with a time of 1 minute 58.05 seconds, to move through to the semi-finals as the fifth fastest qualifier. Travis Nederpelt, with a time of 1 minute 58.93 seconds, failed to qualify.

World record holder Phelps, aiming for a gold medal in this event, finished as the second fastest qualifier in 1 minute 57.36 seconds, 3.43 seconds off his world record.

In the Women's 200m Individual Medley two Australians are through to the semi-finals later today.

Alice Mills qualified ninth with a time of 2 minutes 15.62 seconds, and Lara Carroll qualified eleventh with a time of 2 minutes 16.17 seconds."

Read more at Wind hampers heat times - Swimming -

Posted by Darren at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

The world toasts SA's awesome foursome

"South Africa's golden boys led Olympic news in Greece and America after Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling broke the world 4x100m relay record for gold in the biggest upset of the Athens Olympics so far.

"South Africa's relay men cause upset of the Olympic Games," crowed the Olympic early Monday morning update on national Greek TV station Alpha. The station showed the entire relay, then focused on the jubilation of the foursome at the edge of the pool where Ferns, who turned 21 in July, stood on the block flexing his muscles and waving the South African flag.

"South Africans dashed Michael Phelps's hopes of winning eight Olympic gold medals in major upset," lamented CNN's Olympic update. Phelps came to Athens with aspirations of beating fellow-American Mark Spitz's Olympic record of seven golds at the 1972 Munich Olympics."

Read more at The world toasts SA's awesome foursome

Posted by Darren at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Keng Liat fails to qualify for 100m backstroke final

"SWIMMER Alex Lim Keng Liat failed in his bid to become the first ever Malaysian to qualify for the final of an Olympic swimming event when he trailed in last in the first semi-finals of the 100m backstroke event at the Aquatics Centre here yesterday.

Keng Liat, who had predicted earlier that he would smash his national record of 54.77, clocked a poor 56.08 to finish last in his heat and overall in the semi-finals. Current world champion Aaron Peirsol of the US won the heat in 54.62. nly the top eight make it into the final.

Keng Liat, in fact, had done much better in the heats when he finished as the eighth fastest swimmer, clocking 55.22, ahead even of Australian Matt Welsh, the Manchester Commonwealth Games double gold medallist.

Welsh was ninth, clocking 55.35. In the semi-final, though, Welsh clocked 54.69 to squeeze into the final."

Read more at Keng Liat fails to qualify for 100m backstroke final

Posted by Darren at 08:32 PM | Comments (1)

No eight golds for Phelps

"Soaking up the Olympic experience wasn't all it was cracked up to be for some Americans on Sunday.

While an early end to Michael Phelps' bid for eight swimming gold medals wasn't a stunning upset, Puerto Rico's 92-73 demolition of the men's basketball team was.

Phelps, who won the 400-meter individual medley Saturday, advanced through two rounds of the 200-meter freestyle Sunday. But his 8-for-8 hopes were dashed when South Africa swam to a wire-to-wire, world-record victory in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

What was supposed to be a dual between the United States and Australia instead was a South African tidal wave. Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neething combined to finish in 3 minutes, 13.17 seconds. The Netherlands, anchored by Pieter van den Hoogenband, got up for the silver in 3:14.36."

Read more at No eight golds for Phelps

Posted by Darren at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

South Africa Win 4x 100m Freestyle Relay - World Record

South Africa have won their first ever Men's Gold Medal in the pool tonight in the 4x 100m Freestyle Relay in world record time..

Gold - South Africa (WORLD RECORD)
SCHOEMAN Roland Mark
FERNS Lyndon
TOWNSEND Darian
NEETHLING Ryk

Silver - Netherlands
KENKHUIS Johan
ZASTROW Mitja
ZWERING Klaas-Erik
van den HOOGENBAND Pieter

Bronze - US
CROCKER Ian
PHELPS Michael
WALKER Neil
LEZAK Jason

Posted by Darren at 04:12 AM | Comments (6)

Laure Manaudou wins Women's 400m Freestyle Gold Medal

Laure Manaudou has just won the Women's 400m Freestyle Gold Medal.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Laure Manaudou from France

The winner of the Silver Medal: Otylia Jedrzejczak from Poland

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Kaitlin Sandeno from United States

Posted by Darren at 04:04 AM | Comments (0)

Swimming Showdown

"Olympic attention is on the pool with Athens in the midst of some thrilling showdowns on day two of the Games.

Simon Burnett broke the British record to book his place in the final of the 200m freestyle, joining Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe in arguably the pool's top event.

Thorpe edged Phelps in the first of two head-to-heads between the pair on Sunday by winning the other semi-final.

They meet again in the 4x100m freestyle relay at 1855 BST.

But that pair were upstaged in the 200m freestyle by Pieter van den Hoogenband, who set the fastest qualifying time in Burnett's heat."

Read more at Swimming showdown

Posted by Darren at 03:24 AM | Comments (1)

Kosuke Kitajima wins Men's 100m Breaststroke Gold Medal

Kosuke Kitajima has just won the Men's 100m Breaststroke Gold Medal - beating the world record holder Brendan Hansen.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Kosuke Kitajima from Japan

The winner of the Silver Medal: Brendan Hansen from United States

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Hughes Duboscq from France

Posted by Darren at 03:10 AM | Comments (0)

Petria Thomas wins Women's 100m Butterfly Gold Medal

Petria Thomas has just won the Women's 100m Butterfly Gold Medal in a close race against rival INge de Bruiijn who ended up coming third.

The winner of the Gold Medal: Petria Thomas from Australia

The winner of the Silver Medal: Otylia Jedrzejczak from Poland

The winner of the Bronze Medal: Inge de Bruijn from Netherlands

Posted by Darren at 03:04 AM | Comments (0)

Thorpe and Phelps Go head to head

Tonight was the first time we'd seen Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps swimming in the same race. It was only a Semi final of the 200m Freestyle - and they were around two seconds outside world record pace - but there was something special in thinking about what was to come in tomorrow's final and tonight's relay at the end of today's competition.

Obviously both were holding their cards close to their chest today but one has to wonder if we'll see some world records fall in the next few days.

Posted by Darren at 02:56 AM | Comments (0)

South African swimmers dazzle in Athens relay heats

"South Africa just missed breaking the world record in heats of the men's 4x100 metre freestyle relay on Sunday, setting a blistering standard for the upcoming Olympic final.

The team of Roland Mark Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling qualified first with a time of 3:13.84. The foursome were just shy of the world mark of 3:13.67 set by Australia in winning the Olympic gold medal in Sydney four years ago.

"If we can do the same thing tonight, that would be absolutely amazing," Ferns told reporters.

The United States qualified second on 3:15.83 and Italy were third in 3:16.18. Australia made the final in sixth on 3:17.64."

Read more at South African swimmers dazzle in Athens relay heats

Posted by Darren at 02:33 AM | Comments (0)

Tough Race Ahead for Swimmer Phelps

"Michael Phelps, his first gold medal safely gathered in, eased through the next phase of his monumental Olympic challenge in the heats of the 200 meters freestyle Sunday but the immensity of the task ahead was clear.

The 19-year-old American had been a racing certainty to triumph in Saturday's 400 meters individual medley. He duly obliged, winning by 3.55 seconds -- the biggest victory margin in the 40-year history of the race at the Olympics -- and lowering the world record for the fifth time in two years.

But the 200 meters freestyle always loomed as the toughest proposition in his bid to beat the record seven Olympic golds achieved at a single Games by fellow American Mark Spitz in Munich in 1972 and that was graphically illustrated in the morning's heats on the second day of the swimming competition."

Read more at Tough Race Ahead for Swimmer Phelps

Posted by Darren at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2004

World champion Luo into semis of women's 100m breaststroke

"Twice world champion Luo Xuejuan of China reached the semifinals of the women's 100 meters breaststroke at the Olympic Games in Athens on August 15.

The 20-year-old Luo, who won the event both in the 2001 and 2003 world championships, came second in heat 5 with a time of 1:

09.07, behind American Amanda Beard in 1:08.04.

She was sixth overall and 1.72 seconds behind Australia's Brooke Hanson."

Read more at World champion Luo into semis of women's 100m breaststroke

Posted by Darren at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

Emma Robinson fails to qualify 100m Breaststroke

"Coleraine swimmer Emma Robinson crashed out of the Olympics on Sunday morning after failing to qualify from the 100m breaststroke heats.

Her time of one minute and 11.40 seconds was well short of her Olympic qualifying time of 1:09.19 achieved in Sheffield last March.

The Loughborough-based Robinson had chosen to drop her 200m event to concentrate on the shorter distance.

However, Robinson finished outside the fastest 16 in 24th of the 48 starters.

However, there was still some promise for Irish rowers Sam Lynch and Gearoid Towey.

They showed why they could spring a surprise in the lightweight men's double sculls in Athens."

Read more at Robinson fails to qualify

Posted by Darren at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

Morning Goes Swimmingly for Team GB

"Team GB enjoyed a successful morning in the pool as they looked to build on the Olympic silver medal won by the diving team of Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor last night.

Rebecca Cooke rounded off an excellent team performance by qualifying for the final of the 400metres freestyle in Athens.

Cooke, expected to have a better chance of a medal in the 800m, took almost a second and a half off her personal best to finish second in her heat and fifth fastest overall in four minutes 08.18 seconds."

Read more at Morning Goes Swimmingly for Team GB

Posted by Darren at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Thorpe leads big guns

"Ian Thorpe signalled his intent in the 200m freestyle
Australian star Ian Thorpe set the quickest time in the 200m freestyle heats as the four fastest men in history cruised into the semi-finals.

Thorpe clocked one minute 47.22 seconds in the eighth and last heat with reigning champion Pieter van den Hoogenband 0.10 seconds behind.

US sensation Michael Phelps, chasing a record eight golds, also went through, along with Australian Grant Hackett.

Britain's Simon Burnett qualified for Sunday night's semi-finals in 1:48.68."

Thorpe leads big guns


Posted by Darren at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

Thorpe, Phelps to clash in 4x100m free

"After winning their first gold medals on the opening day of the Athens Olympics, Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe will cross paths for the first time on day two of the Games.

The main clash between the pair is Monday's 200 metres freestyle final but the second day of swimming will offer a sneak preview into the most eagerly anticipated race in Athens.

There is an even chance they could meet in the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle, but even if they are drawn apart, they will at least meet in the men's 4x100m freestyle relays, one of four finals on the second day.

The US had never been beaten in the event at an Olympics until Sydney four years ago when Thorpe anchored Australia to a famous victory."

Read more at Thorpe, Phelps to clash in 4x100m free.

Posted by Darren at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Katy Sexton squeezes through

"Great Britain's Katy Sexton and Sarah Price booked their places in the 100m backstroke semi-finals with controlled swims on Sunday morning.

The pair qualified in 12th and 13th and will hope to improve their times this evening and qualify for the final.

Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps cruised through the heats of the 200m free.

Other early action focused on the Schinias rowing centre where GB's women's quadruple sculls qualified for the final of their event in fine style."

Read more at Sexton squeezes through

Posted by Darren at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

Lindsay Benko earns her medal in prelims

"The first swim of Lindsay Benko's second Olympic Games resulted in her second medal.

It was silver, rather than gold. But it was an Olympic medal.

"I was really proud of the girls who swam (in the final)," she said Saturday after the United States finished second to Australia in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

Benko, of Elkhart, Ind., swam in preliminaries and was replaced in the final. Swimmers from prelims receive the same medal as those in the final."

Read more at Benko earns her medal in prelims

Posted by Darren at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

Americans extend streak to 71 Softball victories with mercy-rule drubbing of Italy

"Jennie Finch and the U.S. softball team made an Olympic debut that was sweaty, short and thoroughly satisfying.

Finch didn't allow a hit in three innings, and the Americans started their run toward a third straight gold medal on Saturday with a shortened 7-0 victory over Italy in their tournament opener.

Natasha Watley went 4-for-4, hitting a two-run double in the fifth to put the United States up by seven runs, invoking the mercy rule that ended the game.

Three-time Olympian Lisa Fernandez had a run-scoring single as the U.S. team extended its win streak to 71 straight games since July 2003."

Read more at Olympics: Americans extend streak to 71 victories with mercy-rule drubbing of Italy

Posted by Darren at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

British make bright start in Pool

Brits make bright start
"Katy Sexton and Sarah Price got Britain's second day in the Olympic pool off to the perfect start by qualifying for the semi-finals of the 100metres backstroke.

No doubt spurred on by the silver-medal success of divers Leon Taylor and Peter Waterfield, the pair came through the sixth and final heat this morning in Athens.

Posted by Darren at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

Gold medalist Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin advance to semifinals in Olympic swimming

"Gold medalist Michael Phelps advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic 200-meter freestyle with a conservative swim Sunday, although rivals Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband and teammate Klete Keller were faster.

Thorpe, who won gold in the 400 freestyle Saturday night, led the way with a preliminary time of 1 minute, 47.22 seconds. The Aussie world record holder swam in the same heat with Van Den Hoogenband, who won the race at the Sydney Games four years ago.

Van Den Hoogenband was second-quickest in 1:47.32. Thorpe finished second to the Dutchman in Sydney.

Emiliano Brembilla of Italy was third in 1:47.95."

Gold medalist Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin advance to semifinals in Olympic swimming

Posted by Darren at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Natalie Coughlin advances in 100 backstroke

"Natalie Coughlin advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic 100-meter backstroke Sunday, although the first and only woman to swim under 1 minute wasn't the fastest qualifier.

Coughlin won her heat in 1 minute, 1.45 seconds, which put her third-quickest heading into the evening semifinals.

Laure Manaudou of France was fastest in 1:01.27. Reiko Nakamura of Japan was second in 1:01.39."

Read more at Natalie Coughlin advances in 100 backstroke

Posted by Darren at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

Phelps sets world record, earns first gold

"Michael Phelps won his first Olympic gold medal and broke his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley Saturday, an impressive start to his quest to eclipse Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven gold medals.

Phelps won with a time of 4 minutes, 8.26 seconds, breaking the record of 4:08.41 that he set last month at the U.S. Olympic trials."

Phelps sets world record, earns first gold

Posted by Darren at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

Women's 4x 400m Freestyle Relay - Australia breaks World Record

"AUSTRALIA's women followed the lead of their men in Sydney by passing the USA on the final leg and breaking the world record in the 400 freestyle relay final of the Athens Olympics.

When Jodie Henry touched at 3:35.96, the Aussies broke Germany's 2002 record by 0.04 of a second. Henry's anchor split was the fastest all-time: a remarkable 52.95.

The youthful powerhouse of Australian womens swimming Lenton (19), Henry (20) and Mills (18) combined with the experience of three-time Olympian Petria Thomas (28) (see pictured) to take the womens freestyle relay for the first time since the 1956 Olympics when the Aussies were spearheaded by legend Dawn Fraser."

Read more at World Record! Women's 400 Freestyle Relay --Australia Passes U.S. on Final Leg!

Posted by Darren at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Olympics-Swimming Superpowers in Pool Duel to Savor

"Australia and the United States, the superpowers of Olympic swimming, clash in a men's relay pool duel Sunday that could see the world record tumble.

China, the last communist superpower, had a dream start to Athens 2004, scooping four gold medals on day one to consolidate their position as Asia's titan of sport.

But for host country Greece, hailed for its superb opening ceremony, there was more shame to contemplate after its two top sprinters were suspended from its team over a drugs inquiry.

In the Olympic pool where spectators have been sweltering in the baking Greek Sun, the Americans are out for revenge."

Read more at Olympics-Swimming Superpowers in Pool Duel to Savor

Posted by Darren at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

Seven To Go: Phelps Wins First Gold in the 400m I

"Michael Phelps' magic number is now seven.

That's how many gold medals the 19-year-old American needs to break Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven, this after Phelps won the men's 400 meter individual medley Saturday by breaking his own world record.

Phelps finished the medley in a time of 4:08.26, besting his previous record of 4:08.41 from the Olympic Trials. He also broke American Tom Dolan's Olympic record of 4:11.76, set four years ago in Sydney, and now holds the five fastest times ever in the event.

American teammate Erik Vendt repeated his silver medal performance at the Sydney Olympics with a time of 4:11.81, beating out Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, who won the bronze with a time of 4:12.15."

Read more at Seven To Go: Phelps Wins First Gold in the 400m I

Posted by Darren at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

Australia v US begin Swimming Showdown

"That feisty kangaroo adorning the green-and-gold Australian banner several swim fans wrapped themselves in Saturday night wears boxing gloves for a reason.

The Aussies love a good scrap. And with all the ballyhoo about Michael Phelps and the "greatest American men's team ever," they haven't had to look hard for a sparring partner.

So on a night when Phelps' first gold-medal performance washed over the Olympic Aquatics Center pool like a tsunami, Australian swimmers made a pretty loud splash of their own.

Ian Thorpe, their beloved "Thorpedo," who reportedly is relishing his 200-meter Monday night showdown with the American teenager who has overshadowed him here, captured a second straight gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle with a narrow victory over countryman Grant Hackett and Klete Keller of the U.S.

And the Aussie women's 400-meter freestyle-relay team delighted in snapping the U.S.' 48-year Olympic winning streak in that event, although the Americans' silver medal had a silver lining for anchor Jenny Thompson."

Read more at Aussies, U.S. begin showdown in the pool

Posted by Darren at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Olympic 200m freestyle set to sizzle

"The men's 200m freestyle, where Aussie great Ian Thorpe and US sensation Michael Phelps go head-to-head, promises to be hot enough to send steam rising from the waters of the Athens Olympic pool.

Thorpe, the world record-holder and world champion, is the favorite.

Phelps, gunning for this medal as part of an ambitious campaign to match or exceed Mark Spitz's Olympic record of seven golds at one games, would need to subtract nearly two seconds from his personal best to get down to Thorpe's world record."

Read more at Olympic 200m freestyle set to sizzle

Posted by Darren at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe Launches 400m Defence

"Ian Thorpe opened his Athens Olympics campaign cautiously and comfortably today, conceding the top qualifying spot in the 400 metres freestyle to fellow Aussie Grant Hackett.

World record holder Thorpe almost did not get a chance to defend the 400m free crown he won in Sydney, sensationally falling from the starting block at the Australian trials to be disqualified.

But qualifier Craig Stevens withdrew from the event, paving the way for Thorpe to take his place alongside Hackett."

Read more at No mistakes as Thorpe launches 400m defence .

Posted by Darren at 12:03 AM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2004

Van Almsick Pulls Out of 100 Fly Semis

"German star Franziska van Almsick pulled out of the 100-meter butterfly semifinals Saturday after finishing 11th in the preliminary heats to concentrate on the 400-meter freestyle relay later in the day.

``I will drop out of the semis because we need all our strength for the relay, that's more important,'' she said. ``It was just a small test for me.''"

Read more at Van Almsick Pulls Out of 100 Fly Semis

Posted by Darren at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Phelps, Thorpe, Hackett Qualify Easily On First Day Of Olympic Swimming

"Michael Phelps made his first day in the Olympic pool look easy.

He began his quest to break Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic gold medals as the fastest swimmer in morning preliminaries for the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4 minutes, 13.29 seconds _ well off his world record of 4:08.41....

Ian Thorpe, the superstar of the Sydney Games, settled for being the second-fastest qualifier behind Australian teammate Grant Hackett in the 400 freestyle.

Hackett finished in 3:46.36. Thorpe, the world record holder, was next in 3:46.55.
"

Posted by Darren at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps begins Olympic quest by easily qualifying in 400 IM

"Michael Phelps began his quest to break Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic gold medals by easily qualifying for the 400-meter individual medley final Saturday.

Phelps was the fastest swimmer in morning preliminaries with a time of 4 minutes, 13.29 seconds - well off his world record of 4:08.41.

He was to return Saturday night for the eight-man final as the overwhelming favorite to win his first gold medal of the Athens Games. American swimmers have finished 1-2 in the event at the last two Olympics.

Phelps is nearly four seconds faster than anyone else in the world this year. He lowered his own world record at last month's U.S. trials.

He won his heat by three body lengths over teammate Erik Vendt, who qualified sixth for the final in 4:16.68. Phelps slowed up on his final two laps. Laszlo Cseh of Hungary was second quickest in 4:14.26 and Alessio Boggiatto of Italy was third in 4:15.76. Greek fans cheered loudly for countryman Ioannis Kokkodis, who made the final in fifth place.

Phelps wiped off the starting block with a USA towel, then stripped down to his jammer suit that ended just above his knees. He removed the large headphones that covered his ears and climbed atop the block."

Read more at Phelps begins Olympic quest by easily qualifying in 400 IM

Posted by Darren at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

DIY goggles keep glare off Kiwi eyes

"If North Shore backstroker Cameron Gibson makes a big splash in the Olympic pool he can credit a dose of good old Kiwi DIY.

The Olympic pool is uncovered and that's a problem for those who will chase glory on their backs.

The heats are in the morning when the glare is too strong for standard goggles.

So New Zealand's premier backstrokers, Gibson and Hannah McLean, have gone about rectifying the problem in different ways.

Having spent part of their Olympic buildup at the outdoor complex in Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, both knew what they had in their swimming bags wasn't going to cut it in Athens."

Read more at DIY goggles keep glare off Kiwi eyes

Posted by Darren at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

1 gold medal is fine, says Michael Phelps, but 8 would be great

"All told, Michael Phelps will make 20 official leaps into the Olympic Aquatic Centre's outdoor pool, counting preliminary heats, semifinals and finals of each of his eight events. Not a day will go by between today and next Saturday that he will not compete.

And this from someone who remains insistent that he is pursuing only one gold medal at these Games.

"I'm here to take one event at a time," Phelps says, his tone unwavering. "The first goal is to get one. Once you're an Olympic gold medalist, you're one for life, no matter how many world records you have. How many people in the world have just one gold medal? I didn't win one in Sydney, and that's what I'm here to do.""

Read more at 1 gold medal is fine, says Michael Phelps, but 8 would be great

Posted by Darren at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps Lands on U.S. 400 Relay Team

"Michael Phelps got his first Olympic win _ before the Athens Games even began. In a move that ticked off sprint star Gary Hall Jr. but should give Phelps his best chance to break Mark Spitz's record, the U.S. coaching staff tentatively reserved a spot for their most touted swimmer in the final of the 400-meter freestyle relay.

Swimming is perhaps the most highly anticipated sport at the Athens Games, beginning Saturday with Phelps as an overwhelming favorite to win his first gold medal in the 400 individual medley. He's the world record holder, going nearly four seconds faster than anyone else in the world this year.

"Obviously, he's going to win multiple gold medals," American backstroker Lenny Krayzelburg said. "There's no question about that. It's just a matter of how many.""

Read more at Phelps Lands on U.S. 400 Relay Team

Posted by Darren at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Wickus Nienaber - Back in Olympic Pool

"Wickus Nienaber marched out of the Sydney Games four years ago carrying his country's flag.

He's resurfaced in Greece. But Swaziland's premier swimmer will be among the missing at today's Opening Ceremony in Athens. That's because the former Florida State standout will take part in the 100-meter breaststroke preliminaries Saturday at the Olympic Aquatic Centre.

Nienaber, who finished 47th in Australia in 2000, hopes for better results this time around.

"I have way better technique (and) better understanding for how to swim a hundred," Nienaber said. "It's not just get on the blocks and thrash there and back for a hundred meters. I have better starts. I have better streamlines. I'm more economic in my stroke. My turns are faster. I'm stronger off the walls. And I think I maintain my stroke better over a hundred meters than I did four years ago.""

Read more at Back in Olympic pool.

Posted by Darren at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

Swimming giants battle again

Great Britain's swimmers hardly registered a blip on the Richter scale when Australia and the United States held their respective news conferences within the space of 24 hours this week.

For the two giants of the pool, the Athens Games will be all about inflicting as much pain and embarrassment on each other as possible. No one else really matters.

The Aussies did their best to play down the long-standing rivalry when they appeared first before the world's media on Tuesday, insisting that to ignore the threat from other countries would be both "unfair" and tactically naive.

But you could not help feeling they were simply playing a game, refusing to give the Americans any motivational ammunition ahead of their big confrontation in the water.

Read more at Swimming giants battle again

Posted by Darren at 03:16 PM | Comments (1)

Franziska van Almsick Eyes Gold Medal

"Franziska van Almsick is feeling right at home in the birthplace of the Olympics, the perfect stage for a golden farewell.

The German swimming star won't be back at the games again and Athens is her fourth and final chance to add the one thing missing from her resume -- an Olympic gold medal.

"There is a really nice atmosphere here. We only arrived yesterday and my legs were still a bit tired this morning but it all went away after the practice," van Almsick said Thursday.

"They are greeting the games here with 'Welcome Home,' and I really feel at home here. The conditions are very nice.""

Read more at As Germany's van Almsick readies for final games, gold looms large

Posted by Darren at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

Phelps leads real Dream Team

"Speedo has promised Michael Phelps a $1 million prize if he wins seven gold medals in Athens.

You know Speedo, the swimsuit company dedicated to embarrassing anyone who has ever eaten a stack of flapjacks or downed a couple of beers. A person with more than 1 percent body fat looks like a complete whale in a Speedo.

Some of us suck in our stomachs and blush just walking past the Speedo section of a department store.

But it's not as if Speedo is being frivolous with its hard-earned money. Only Mark Spitz has won seven swimming gold medals at one Olympics. He did it in 1972 in Munich back in the days when athletes trained on steaks and cigarettes.

Yet Phelps, a floppy-eared teenager from Baltimore, is so good that some think he actually has a chance. He is projected to be the star of these Games, the face we will end up associating with Athens 2004.

"I'd be satisfied with one gold medal," Phelps insisted. "How many people in the world have one Olympic gold medal?"

Not many. And seven seems impossible."

Read more at Phelps leads real Dream Team.

Posted by Darren at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2004

IOC lose to power of Thorpe co

"THEY are the coolest rockstars of the Athens Olympics and in typical rockstar fashion, Australia's athletes commanded the biggest, rowdiest audience of the Games to date, completely upstaging the International Olympic Committee.

In the battle of the rival press conferences, the IOC was made to look ridiculous when it claimed priority by holding its briefing in the largest conference room at Athens' main press centre, yet barely attracted enough journalists to match the number of talking heads it paraded on stage.

That forced Australia's highest-profile swimmers, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Matt Welsh, Petria Thomas, Leisel Jones and Libby Lenton, to hold their press conference simultaneously in a far smaller room filled to overflowing with around 300 journalists, photographers and cameramen.

Dozens of other media representatives took one look at the jam-packed conditions and turned away."

Read more at IOC lose to power of Thorpe co.

Posted by Darren at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

Relay decision leaves Phelps gold bid in jeopardy

"Michael Phelps' bid to emulate Mark Spitz's record seven-Olympic-gold-medal haul has taken a potentially fatal blow with reports US swimming chiefs will leave the teenager out of the 4x100m freestyle relay in Athens, sources tell Eurosport.

Despite being the second fastest American over the distance this year, Phelps did not compete in the event in the US Olympic trials.

And according to sources within the German swimming team - who shared the pre-Games training facility in Mallorca with the US squad - American coaches will choose the relay quartet from the swimmers who qualified through the trials.

The decision is expected to be confirmed at the US team's press conference in Athens on Wednesday.

This leaves Phelps - who was aiming to emulate Spitz's haul at the 1972 Munich Olympics by competing in eight events in Greece - with an uphill task to match his compatriot's exploits in the remaining seven events."

Relay decision leaves Phelps gold bid in jeopardy

Posted by Darren at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

Grant Hackett predicts Michael Phelps Pain

"Australia's Grant Hackett believes US swimming star Michael Phelps could leave the Olympics with six gold medals but still go home disappointed.

Phelps is bidding to go one better than Mark Spitz's record tally of seven golds in one Olympics but Hackett believes it will be "very difficult".

"It certainly does put a lot of pressure on you," said Hackett.

"If you win six gold medals it would be a disappointment, even though it's a fantastic result."

Hackett, the defending 1500m freestyle champion, will face Phelps, as well as compatriot Ian Thorpe, in the 200m freestyle."

Read more at Rival predicts Phelps pain.

Posted by Darren at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

Ian Thorpe urges more drug testing

"Ian Thorpe has called for more emphasis on out-of-competition testing to take the fight to the drug-cheaters in sport.

The Australian swimming superstar raised the hackles of world governing body FINA last month when he said it would be naive to believe swimming would be clean of drugs at the Athens Games.

FINA hit back, saying that Thorpe's attitude was unacceptable because he was accusing all swimmers at the Olympic Games of being doped without any proof.

While reluctant to get embroiled in further controversy over the burning issue, the 21-year-old Olympic and world champion told a press conference that while blood-testing was an important component, so was out-of-competition testing of athletes."

Read more at Thorpe urges more drug testing

Posted by Darren at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

De Bruijn sends warning massage to Australians - Swimming

"She may not seem the unstoppable force she was four years ago in Sydney, but ask Dutchwoman Inge de Bruijn how she feels heading into her third Olympics and her answers are very revealing.

"I'm very excited," de Bruijn said. "I feel very fit, very strong, very confident."

And that's very ominous for her opponents. In Sydney, an excited, fit, strong and confident de Bruijn won the 50-metre and 100m freestyle, the 100m butterfly and the hearts of most Australians.

In the four years since, she has not been quite so dominant, and in March, she saw her 100m freestyle world record of 53.77 seconds beaten by Australian Libby Lenton. It didn't particularly surprise her.

"I thought they were awesome swims by the Australian girls [Lenton and Jodie Henry, who equalled de Bruijn's record], both of them actually," she said.

"Records are meant to be broken and I saw it coming."

Read more at De Bruijn sends warning massage to Australians - Swimming

Posted by Darren at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

This is not an Australia-US competition, says Aussie head coach

"THE Olympic swimming competition is not just a meet between the United States and Australia despite their powerful squads, Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said yesterday.

The US are bringing the worlds strongest team but other countries, such as Britain, have good squads, Nugent said.

This is not an Australia-US competition here, he told a news conference.

Everyone from around the world is at the Olympics and we consider everyone to be our competitor. There are a lot of other people out there besides the red, white and blue.

Ian Thorpe, defending champion in the 400m freestyle, said the depth of competition would be clear when Australia tried to retain their mens 4x100m freestyle relay title.

Rising power South Africa and Russia, who won the world championship in the event last year, could contend for the gold medal with the United States and Australia, he said."

Read more at This is not an Australia-US competition, says Aussie head coach.

Posted by Darren at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

Passion for the pool drives Dingeldein to Athens

"While preparing her daughter to become an Olympian was never the intention, Libby Dingeldein's second-born would be active and on time.

One day while trying to hurry her then-college freshman along, Libby's daughter Margie retorted in a mock pout, "Mawwwwm, I'm not a land animal."

Margie was always at home in the water, able to move faster and transcend her small size, even as a baby.

She had long been considered by friends and family as a given to make the U.S. Olympic women's water polo team before the official announcement was made in June.

The 24-year-old Merced, Calif. native is also known for her intelligence, compassion and determination."

Read more at Passion for the pool drives Dingeldein to Athens.

Posted by Darren at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe considers ultimate payback

"IT WAS a question which saw Ian Thorpe momentarily stumble. Not quite as clumsily as when he fell from his blocks in the Australian Olympic swimming trials, an aberration which looked to have ruled him out of his favourite 400 metres event at Athens 2004.

But enough to produce a pause, a wry smile and the suggestion that one of the great sporting stories could be witnessed here next week.

If he won gold in the 400m would he give it to his team-mate, room-mate and big pal Craig Stevens, the man whose selfless decision to bow out of the 400m team, albeit under pressure from an expectant nation, won Thorpe a reprieve?

"I havent thought about that so I cant give a definitive answer," floundered Thorpe in response. "Im concentrating on swimming the race and hope that goes well. Ill make any other decision after Ive competed." "

Read more at Thorpe considers ultimate payback

Posted by Darren at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

Thorpe has chance to join immortals

"Forget about Greek gods, Ian Thorpe has a chance to join Australia's Olympic immortals if he can win Saturday's 400m freestyle gold in Athens.

Thorpe will equal Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and Betty Cuthbert as the country's most successful Olympians with four gold medals if he's victorious in his first swimming event of the Games.

And he'll join Rose as the only men in Olympic history to have won back-to-back 400m freestyle titles.

But not if Grant Hackett has anything to say about it.

Hackett believes he's ready to go faster than he's ever been before.

"I think it's time that I do a personal best," he said.

"I feel like I've done the work in the past couple of years to really bring it down and wherever that leaves me in terms of the medals we'll wait and see."

Read more at Thorpe has chance to join immortals.

Posted by Darren at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Ian Thorpe won't wear 'mean look'

"MICHAEL KLIM reckons the Australian men's 4x100m freestyle relay is reminiscent of the Mean Machine, if only Ian Thorpe would shave his head.

While relay contenders Klim, Ashley Callus and Olympic rookie Eamon Sullivan have all lopped their locks like the Mean Machine, Thorpe just can't bring himself to follow suit.

"I don't think it's ever going to happen," Klim quipped today.

"It's highly unlikely."

Nevertheless, the members of the relay have talked about evoking the spirit of the Mean Machine when they race at the Olympics on Saturday - the first day of competition in swimming."

Read more at FOX SPORTS | ATHENS OLYMPIC GAMES | Ian won't wear mean look (August 10, 2004).

Posted by Darren at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe - Unbeatable

"IAN THORPE has received a huge vote of confidence from the man who plotted his downfall in the 200m freestyle at the Sydney Olympics four years ago, Pieter van den Hoogenband's coach Jacco Verhaeren.

Thorpe and van den Hoogenband embraced as friends beside the Athens Olympic pool yesterday, but in eight days they will meet as rivals for the gold medal in the 200m freestyle.

That event is being billed as the race of the century, with American superstar Michael Phelps and former world record-holder Grant Hackett also to line up.

However, Verhaeren believes Thorpe is almost unbeatable, saying he expected the reverse of Sydney, where van den Hoogenband triumphed and took away the Australian's world record.

"Thorpe has had a big advantage since Fukuoka [the 2001 world championshps] - I think Ian Thorpe is the winner of the 200," he said.

"I think we have to be very good to beat him."

Read more at Thorpe 'unbeatable'

Posted by Darren at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

Pieter van den Hoogenband Shuns Limelight in Athens

"Pieter van den Hoogenband is happy to let American teenager Michael Phelps hog the limelight, as the Dutchman prepares for his 200 metres freestyle title defence at the Athens Olympics next week.

Phelps is hoping to better Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics and has entered eight events at Athens, including the 200m freestyle.

"I don't like the attention, he can have all the attention," van den Hoogenband told a news conference.

"I don't want to crash his party, I just want to do my best."

The 200m freestyle at Athens has been dubbed "the race of the century", as it should include the four fastest men in the history of event."

Read more at Hoogie shuns the limelight in Athens .

Posted by Darren at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

Olympic Swimming: Spotlight, and sun, shining on the pool

"Pity the poor backstrokers as they stretch out supine during their races in the morning heats under a pitiless Mediterranean sun in the most important competitions of their lives.

"I'm not doing the backstroke, so it won't affect me,'' said Ian Crocker, who swims freestyle and butterfly. "It worked out well. Our Olympic trials were at an outdoor pool. It's a good preview of what we're going to see in Athens, without a roof. The teams who aren't wise enough to stay out of the sun and heat, it might affect them. ... We have a team full of people it didn't affect.''

The Olympic pool in Athens was supposed to come with a roof, but roofs proved problematic for Greek organizers hustling to make ready for the 2004 Games and plans for a lid were scrapped. It will mean wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen and water by the bucketsful for fans and limited exposure for swimmers."

Read more at Swimming / Spotlight, and sun, shining on the pool.

Posted by Darren at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

Raising the gold bar - Phenom Phelps chases Spitz's legacy

"He's the golden boy of the coming Olympics and has never won a single medal.

He's on more magazine covers than John Kerry, President Bush and JLo combined, and is still a teenager.

He's in Olympic promos, TV commercials, print ads -- everywhere but on that fast-food soda cup, but give him time.

Michael Phelps is about to determine if he's simply an excellent swimmer with one heck of a marketing campaign or one of the most memorable athletes of all-time.

In an era of specialization, what he's attempting is truly remarkable. He has entered in five individual swimming events, with a shot at a possible three relays.

Gold in all would surpass Mark Spitz's record of seven in a single Olympics. If Phelps equals the Spitz mark, Speedo has already announced he'll earn a $1 million bonus."

Read more at L.A. Daily News - Sports.

Posted by Darren at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps strives to boost swimming's popularity

"Michael Phelps is motivated by more than gold and glory at the Athens Olympics. He considers himself an ambassador of his sport, and he wants to make good on a promise.

"When he became pro, one request he made when picking an agent was he wanted to elevate the sport of swimming," said his mother, Deborah Phelps. "He said, 'I want people to embrace the sport of swimming.'

Michael Phelps doesn't expect swimming to supplant track and field as the marquee sport of the Summer Olympics. But Phelps - the cover boy on Sports Illustrated and Time and the focus of several major ad campaigns - is certainly raising swimming's profile."

Read more at Phelps strives to boost swimming's popularity.

Posted by Darren at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

Women's 400m Individual Medley Preview

"Yana KLOCHKOVAcouldswim away with a gold medal for UKRAINEin theWomen's 400m Individual Medley whentheOlympic Swimming competition begins at the weekend.

The current Olympic champion and world record holder with a time of 4:33.39, set at the Sydney2000 Games,has since won titles in most international events, although she has been unableto repeat her world best time.

Hungary's Eva RIZTOV and Kathryn HOFF of the USAare the most likely threats with bothswimming under 4:38."

Continue reading Women's 400m Individual Medley Preview

Posted by Darren at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

One-man swim teams join forces

"Of the 77 single-swimmer 'teams' competing at the Athens Olympic Games, three have joined forces in the build up to theSwimming program.

The Guam, Fijian and Papua New Guinean swimmers have been training side-by-side and socialising together today at the Olympic Aquatic Centre.

Daniel O'KEEFFE (GUM), who has qualified for the 100m Butterfly, is looking to achieve his personal best, as well as break the Guam national record.

Atwo-time Olympian and self-proclaimed history buff, O'KEEFFE says he is very motivated by the Olympic Games coming back to their birthplace.

"I believe that there is a certain mystique in the air here," said O'KEEFFE. "I would be up for doing the original swimming course in the sea."

After training over the past three days, OKEEFFE said "the water feels perfect - cold and wet, just how we like it.""

Read more at One-man swim teams join forces

Posted by Darren at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Bureaucrats Sink Eric 'The Eel'

"Four years ago, a fellow known as Eric "The Eel" Moussambani won the hearts of Olympic fans because he tried so hard.

Eric struggled just to finish a 100-meter freestyle heat in Sydney, Australia -- a mere nine months after taking up the sport.

Since then, he's been training hard for the Summer Games in Athens.

It's not to be. Eric's native Equatorial Guinea did not issue his passport in time, apparently because workers couldn't find his photograph. "

Read more at Bureaucrats Sink Eric 'The Eel'

Posted by Darren at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

Bureaucrats Sink Eric 'The Eel'

"Four years ago, a fellow known as Eric "The Eel" Moussambani won the hearts of Olympic fans because he tried so hard.

Eric struggled just to finish a 100-meter freestyle heat in Sydney, Australia -- a mere nine months after taking up the sport.

Since then, he's been training hard for the Summer Games in Athens.

It's not to be. Eric's native Equatorial Guinea did not issue his passport in time, apparently because workers couldn't find his photograph. "

Read more at Bureaucrats Sink Eric 'The Eel'

Posted by Darren at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Lenny Krayzelburg - Age no longer barrier in pool

"There was a time when Lenny Krayzelburg would have given up on the idea of returning for another Olympics.

He already had three gold medals from the 2000 Sydney Games. His shoulders ached from all those years doing the backstroke. He was getting along in swimming years.

But Krayzelburg decided to give it one more shot. The money was too good to walk away just yet, and it was clear he could still be competitive with the best backstrokers that the world has to offer.

So Krayzelburg kept himself in the pool, made the U.S. Olympic team in the 100-meter backstroke and will be a medal contender in Athens.

At the ripe ol' age of 28."

Read more at Age no longer barrier in pool.

Posted by Darren at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

Australians praise Olympics pool

"The Australian swimming team has had their first training session at the Olympic pool and praised the venue.

In March, organisers scrapped plans to build a roof over the pool because they would not finish it in time, sparking criticism from many in the Australian camp concerned about the heat.

But after swimming at the venue backstroker Matt Welsh says he is no longer concerned.

"The stands are high enough (to block the sun)," he said.

Head coach Leigh Nugent said he was impressed with the facilities"

Read more at Australians praise Olympics pool.

Posted by Darren at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe fails the Athens taxi-driver test

"IN keeping with Ian Thorpe's excellent new rock star persona, the swimming team's arrival in Athens has been cloaked in the sort of secrecy and hysteria usually reserved for a Rolling Stones tour.

All kinds of rules and restrictions govern the ferrying of athletes to and from the airport. As the swimmers were scheduled to fly in after training in Germany, Australian media were agitating for a shot of our aquatic gods and goddesses setting foot - size 18 or otherwise - in the ancient city.

Alas, you're more likely to sneak into the stadium to build sandcastles in the long jump pit - not that hard, apparently - than get near the tarmac."

Read more at Thorpe fails the Athens taxi-driver test.

Posted by Darren at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

Linda McEachrane to Compete in 100m Freestyle for Tinidad and Tobago

"TULANE University swimming standout Linda McEachrane will compete in the 100-meter freestyle in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee announced recently.

Tulane put out the word, with excitement, about a women they believe is the only active varsity student-athlete its had participate in the Games. It is another version of the many Olympic experiences SwimInfo is happy to share with you.

As told by Tulane:

McEachrane, the reigning conference USA Freshman Swimmer of the Year, is a native of Petite Valley, Trinidad. She posted a time of 58.00 in the 100 free at a TTOC sanctioned time trial to earn a spot on the Olympic team. She will compete in the preliminary heats on the morning of Aug. 18 with semifinals slated for later that afternoon and the finals scheduled for Aug. 19.

I'm very excited, but I don't think it's really hit me yet,"McEachrane said. "I guess whenever I get there, it'll sink in some, but that's over three weeks away and I've got a lot of training to do between now and then."

McEachrane becomes the first Tulane student to participate in the Olympics while still in school since 1972 when David Berger went to Munich as a weightlifter on the Israeli team. According to available records, she will be the first active Green Wave varsity student-athlete to participate in the Olympics."

Continue reading McEachrane Named to Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Swim Team.

Posted by Darren at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Dana Vollmer Stays in Pool whatever the cost

"For Dana Vollmer, the rationale is quite plain. Never mind that she is 16, already a veteran of two heart problems, one of which required surgery, or, as she prefers to say, "a procedure." Never mind that when she swims next week in the Olympics, there will be a defibrillator poolside, specifically for her, lest her heart begin to race, or stop, or do something else abnormal. Most would say, "Why swim?" Vollmer's answer, "Because I must."

"I basically said I would rather die swimming," she said, "than not do it at all."

Well, then, there you have it. If she stopped swimming, part of her -- a significant part of her -- would die, so she might as well press forward, because why limit yourself at such a young age? Plus . . .

"I don't think about it," she said. "I really don't.""

Read more at Vollmer Stays in the Pool No Matter What the Cost.

Posted by Darren at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Natalie Coughlin goes for five Gold Medals

Coughlin goes for five golds
"Natalie Coughlin is taking a low-profile approach to her first Olympics. Once given equal billing with Michael Phelps in the pursuit of multiple gold medals, Coughlin will swim just two individual events in Athens. She hopes to be placed on three relays, giving her a chance to win five medals.

''I feel it's better for me to do really well in two or three events rather than mediocre in four or five,'' she said.

Her scaled-down schedule still puts the most versatile American female swimmer in good position to make history. No American woman has ever won more than four swimming golds in one Olympics. Amy Van Dyken won two individual and two relay golds in 1996.

Coughlin owns five world records and 18 American marks in all four strokes freestyle, butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke, making her an anomaly in a sport of specialists."

Posted by Darren at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Aussies out to better their 6 Swimming Gold Medals in Sydney

"Four years ago, Australia won six swimming medals in Sydney. It's sizeable, considering that the whole contingent won only 16. Now they are targeting more.

Despite much hype, Thorpe won only the 400m free, losing to Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband in the 200m free. Hoogie, incidentally, also took the 100m free.

Thorpe has set his sights on becoming the first to win the three frees: 100m, 200m and 400m. This has prompted him to withdraw from the 200m individual medley.

Nevertheless, if Australia can retain their two relay titles, Thorpe could get five golds, which will only pale if the all-round American Phelps wins seven.

If he does get his unprecedented hat-trick of frees, he must thank Craig Stevens without whose generosity Thorpe would have been a non-starter in the 400m."

Aussies out to better Sydney

Posted by Darren at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2004

James Hickman targets Michael Phelps

"James Hickman is hopeful of beating Michael Phelps to win Olympic gold in the 100m butterfly in Athens.

Phelps is aiming to beat Mark Spitz's haul of seven golds at the Games, but Hickman is confident he can stop the 19-year-old's record attempt.

"In American Michael Phelps I've got a really tough challenge," he conceded on BBC Radio Five Live.

"But when I stand on the blocks I'll be ready for it and confident of winning the gold medal."

Great Britain failed to win a single swimming medal at the last Olympics in Sydney but Hickman sees plenty of reason for optimism this time."

Read more at Hickman targets Phelps.

Posted by Darren at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Australian Swimmers Arrive in Athens

"Australia's all powerful Olympic swimming team has arrived in Athens as new hope emerged that Jana Pittman might still be able to join them at the Games.

As Pittman entered a London hospital for exploratory knee surgery she hoped might keep her Olympic dream alive, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and the rest of the swimmers arrived at the historic home of the Games amid tight security.

The 42-strong unit has been tipped to deliver more than a third of Australia's medals at the Games.

Leading website Swiminfo.com has predicted Australia to win eight gold, eight silver and two bronze medals in the pool - more than the 1956 team dubbed the nation's greatest.

The team's chartered flight flew into the Olympic city from their pre-Games training camp in Germany.

Team boss John Coates said the arrival of the swimmers would further boost morale within the Australian contingent.

He said other members of the Olympic team regarded Australia's leading swimmers as heroes."

Read more at Swimmers arrive amid new hope for Jana

Posted by Darren at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Michael Phelps Olympic Profile - US Swimming Team

-- Six-foot-5 19-year-old will swim in seven, maybe eight, events.
-- At last year's worlds, he won four golds and set five world records.
-- Finished fifth in 200 fly as 15-year-old at Sydney 2000.

His schedule
Aug. 14 -- 400 IM heat, 400 IM final
Aug. 15 -- 200 free heat and semi, 4x100 free heat and final*
Aug. 16 -- 200 fly heat and semi, 200 free final
Aug. 17 -- 4x200 free heat and final, 200 fly final
Aug. 18 -- 200 IM heat and semi
Aug. 19 -- 100 fly heat and semi, 200 IM final
Aug. 20 -- 4x100 medley heat, 100 fly final
Aug. 21 -- 4x100 medley final

Note: Phelps may not swim in every relay heat and may not be in the 4x100 free at all."

Source - Swimming / Four to watch

Posted by Darren at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Alexander Popov Olympic Profile

-- Serene Russian sprinter is 32 and in his fourth Olympics.
-- Took gold in 50 and 100 free at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.
-- Re-emerged as man to beat at last year's worlds, winning the 50 and 100 free.

His schedule
Aug. 15 -- 4x100 heat and final
Aug. 17 -- 100 free heat and semi
Aug. 18 -- 100 free final
Aug. 19 -- 50 free heat and semi
Aug. 20 -- 4x100 medley heat, 50 free final
Aug. 21 -- 4x100 medley final

Note: Popov may not swim in every relay heat.

Posted by Darren at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

Australian Swimmers Sick

"Three members of Australia's Olympic swimming team have been taken ill at the team's training camp in Germany.

Giaan Rooney, Jodie Henry and Alice Mills are all suffering from sore throats, headaches and slight fevers, though so far only 18-year-old Mills is sitting out training sessions.

It is not unusual for swimmers to experience such symptoms when they begin to taper off their training in the run-up to a major competition like the Olympics."

Read more at Aussie swimmers struggle with illness - Athens Olympics 2004 - ABC Sport..

Posted by Darren at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2004

Natalie Coughlin Olympic Profile

-- Concord and Cal product was first in 100 back, second in 100 free at U.S. trials.
-- Illness derailed her at last year's world championships, where she came away with only relay medals.
-- Her coach, Cal's Teri McKeever, is an assistant on the U.S. team -- its first female coach ever.

HER SCHEDULE
Aug. 14 -- 4x100 free heat and final
Aug. 15 -- 100 back heat and semi
Aug. 16 -- 100 back final
Aug. 18 -- 100 free heat and semi
Aug. 19 -- 100 free final
Aug. 20 -- 4x100 medley heat
Aug. 21 -- 4x100 medley final

Note: Coughlin may not swim in every relay heat. It is possible she'll swim in one more relay.

Source - Swimming / Four to watch

Posted by Darren at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

Athens Olympics Swimming Medal Predictions

Athens Olympic Games Blog reader, Jonathan Paxman, has done a lot of thinking about the Swimming events in Athens and has put together this great set of predictions of Medal Winners in swimming events. Thanks Jonathan - great work. Here are his predictions.

These predictions are my humble opinion, based on a number of factors including 2003 and 2004 rankings, and performances in past championships. Dont interpret these as expectations for any given team. In particular, you will note that Americans (14 gold) and Australians (11 gold) figure heavily in the predictions. In some ways, I expect the team performances to be somewhat lower than these predictions. This is because the Australian and American teams are perhaps more known quantities than their European and Asian counterparts. If there are some surprise packets at the Olympics who break their personal best by a substantial distance to win gold, I expect these to come from outside the Australian and American teams.

Perhaps my predictions for the Aussies are a little optimistic, but not unjustifiably so. Australia has the top ranked competitors in twelve events if you include the relays, and world record holders in seven. For the Australian team, I would regard anything over the five gold haul of Sydney to be a very good result. To match the 1956 haul of eight gold would be outstanding.

It is difficult to see Australia seriously challenging American supremacy in the overall medal count. The difference can be summed up in one word: Phelps. It is interesting to note that the top ranked competitor or team in every mens event is either American or Australian. Certain individuals may challenge that whitewash at the Olympics: Kitajima, Hoogenband, and Popov in particular. The womens events on the other hand are a much more multinational affair, with gold medal chances in the Japanese, Polish, German, Ukrainian, Dutch, French and Chinese teams.

Women:
50m Freestyle
Gold: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Silver: Lisbeth Lenton (AUS)
Bronze: Michelle Engelsman (AUS)

The womens sprint events are shaping up to be Inky vs the Aussies, and I predict that Sydneys queen of the pool will triumph in the one lap splash and dash.

100m Freestyle
Gold: Jodie Henry (AUS)
Silver: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Bronze: Lisbeth Lenton (AUS)

Sure to be one of the most closely contested races of the meet. Henry has had the better of Lenton in recent finals, despite Lenton's world record in the semi-finals of the Olympic trials. de Bruijn will definitely be looking to regain her world record in the event.

200m Freestyle
Gold: Franziska van Almsick (GER)
Silver: Melanie Marshall (GBR)
Bronze: Petria Thomas (AUS)

This one is tough to predict, with Melanie Marshall swimming strongly this year, along with Otylia Jedrzejczak, Jiaying Pang, and Petria Thomas. World record holder van Almsick should stamp her authority on this race if she can swim anywhere near her best.

400m Freestyle
Gold: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL)
Silver: Laure Manaudou (FRA)
Bronze: Camelia Potec (ROM)

This event could be very close, with the top six competitors within half a second this year.

800m Freestyle
Gold: Sachiko Yamada (JPN)
Silver: Kalyn Keller (USA)
Bronze: Diana Munz (USA)

Yamada is the best this year by several seconds, and it will take a top performance to beat her. The Japanese and Americans should clean up the medals in this event.

100m Backstroke
Gold: Natalie Coughlin (USA)
Silver: Laure Manaudou (FRA)
Bronze: Reiko Nakamura (JPN)

Natalie Coughlin is a big favourite on paper, but after a several of failures at major championships, she will be under a lot of pressure. Manaudou has also put in a number of strong times this year, and may be very close.

200m Backstroke
Gold: Reiko Nakamura (JPN)
Silver: Stanislava Komarova (RUS)
Bronze: Katy Sexton (GBR)

Nakamura and Komarova are the standout performers this year, although the British swimmers could also be in contention.

100m Breaststroke
Gold: Leisel Jones (AUS)
Silver: Tara Kirk (USA)
Bronze: Brooke Hanson (AUS)

World record holder Jones, with six of the top ten times this year, should win this if her nerves hold up. Brooke Hanson, and Americans Beard and Kirk are the only other serious contenders. Interestingly, American Staciana Stitts failed to qualify in this event despite setting the fastest time by an American this year in the preliminary rounds at the US trials.

200m Breaststroke
Gold: Amanda Beard (USA)
Silver: Leisel Jones (AUS)
Bronze: Qi Hui (CHN)

This one on one battle between Beard and Jones should be decided in a world record. Jones broke the record (previously held jointly by Beard and Qi) in heavy training earlier this year, only for Beard to take it back by half a second at the US trials. Of the other swimmers, only Qi may get close.

100m Butterfly
Gold: Petria Thomas (AUS)
Silver: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Bronze: Martina Moravcova (SVK)

In the lead up to the Olympics, much of the attention has been focused on Ian Thorpe, Leisel Jones and the speedy freestylers Lenton, Henry and Mills. This has suited Petria Thomas just fine as she has continued to set scorching times in the 100m and 200m Butterfly. On this years times, nobody will come close in the 100m, however world record holder 'Inky' de Bruijn can never be discounted.

200m Butterfly
Gold: Petria Thomas (AUS)
Silver: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL)
Bronze: Yuko Nakanishi (JPN)

Petria Thomas is again the form swimmer in the 200m 'fly, but will be chased by another world record holder in Jedrzejczak. Galvez will fight with Nakanishi for the bronze. There is a danger for Thomas in the semi-final, where she may have less than 15 minutes to recover from swimming the 200m freestyle final.

Amid all the speculation over whether Michael Phelps will match Mark Spitz' record of seven gold medals in one games, nobody has mentioned that Petria Thomas has a serious possibility to match Kristin Otto's 1988 record of six gold medals. It is pretty unlikely that either swimmer will achieve the feat, however Thomas seems to have the better chance.

200m Individual Medley
Gold: Amanda Beard (USA)
Silver: Yana Klochkova (UKR)
Bronze: Alice Mills (AUS)

This will be a very closely contested event. The main contenders are Americans Beard and Hoff, Aussies Mills and Hanson, along with Klochkova and Rohman (GER). Only 0.04 of a second separates the top three ranked this year (Beard, Hoff and Rohman).

400m Individual Medley
Gold: Yana Klochkova (UKR)
Silver: Kathryn Hoff (USA)
Bronze: Eva Risztov (HUN)

World record holder Klochkova will do battle with the top ranked swimmer this year, Hoff. Australian Jennifer Reilly should be in medal contention along with Risztov and Sandeno (USA).

4x100m Freestyle Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: Germany

After the scorching times set by the Australian women at the Olympic trials, Australia is now a hot favourite to win this event for the first time since Dawn Fraser's 1956 team. USA are also very strong, and the German world record holders led by Franziska van Almsick will not be far away. It should take a new world record to win this event.

4x200m Freestyle Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: Germany
Bronze: USA

With no one team showing dominance in the 200m freestyle, this relay could be one of the most closely contested events of the games. Australia look strong, with Petria Thomas swimming as well as she ever has, Linda Mackenzie improving all the time and Elka Graham returning to her best form. Germany, USA and China will all be strong and any one of them could take the gold medal.

4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: China

With top ranked swimmers in three of the four strokes, Australia should cement it's domination of women's swimming on the final day of the Olympic programme. USA will provide a close contest as always, and expect China and Germany to fight out the bronze ahead of Britain and Japan.


Men:
50m Freestyle

Gold: Gary Hall Jr (USA)
Silver: Roland Shoeman (RSA)
Bronze: Alexander Popov (RUS)

Gary Hall has just qualified for his third Olympics, and is looking as hungry as ever. The 50m free might be a bit of a lottery between the Americans Hall and Lezak, Popov, Shoeman and a couple of Spaniards Lorente and Noriega.

100m Freestyle
Gold: Jason Lezak (USA)
Silver: Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED)
Bronze: Roland Shoeman (RSA)

This should be the breakthrough year for Lezak, after years in the shadow of Hall, Ervin and Walker. Any of the finalists might win however: watch out for a certain Ian Crocker.

200m Freestyle
Gold: Ian Thorpe (AUS)
Silver: Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED)
Bronze: Grant Hackett (AUS)

In the most anticipated race of the swimming programme, Ian Thorpe should gain his revenge over van den Hoogenband for his defeat in 2000. Hackett and Phelps are also in top form, and the winner could come from any of those four.

400m Freestyle
Gold: Ian Thorpe (AUS)
Silver: Grant Hackett (AUS)
Bronze: Klete Keller (USA)

Ian Thorpe will be looking for a strong start to his Olympics. He will need it to beat Grant Hackett, who has put in several strong 400 swims this year. Americans Keller and Jensen will be fighting for bronze.

1500m Freestyle
Gold: Grant Hackett (AUS)
Silver: David Davies (GBR)
Bronze: Yuri Prilukov (RUS)

Hackett says he can beat his world record, and who is to doubt him? If he swims anything close to it, he will be untouchable. Davies, Prilukov and Jensen will fight out the medals with Craig Stevens. Expect the top five to all swim under 15 minutes.

100m Backstroke
Gold: Aaron Peirsol (USA)
Silver: Matthew Welsh (AUS)
Bronze: Lenny Krayzelburg (USA)

Aaron Peirsol is the pacesetter this year, but Welsh is only a whisker away, and the world record holder Krayzelburg cannot be discounted. Expect a touch to separate the medals.

200m Backstroke
Gold: Aaron Peirsol (USA)
Silver: Razvan Florea (ROM)
Bronze: Gregor Tait (GBR)

With the withdrawal of Michael Phelps, there is noone to touch Peirsol in this event. I cant imagine Phelps withdrawing if he thought he had a chance of winning this event, and if he cant do it, noone else can come close.

After a number of good performances this year, Romanian Florea is a good chance of a medal ahead of Gregor Tait and Markus Rogan.

100m Breaststroke
Gold: Kosuke Kitajima (JPN)
Silver: Brendan Hansen (USA)
Bronze: Darren Mew (GBR)

Kitajima will be looking to regain his world records in the breaststroke events from Hansen. His best chance lies in the 100m, but it will be a close battle.

200m Breaststroke
Gold: Brendan Hansen (USA)
Silver: Kosuke Kitajima (JPN)
Bronze: Jim Piper (AUS)

Brendan Hansen has stamped his domination on this event with a time that is almost two seconds faster than his rivals this year.

100m Butterfly
Gold: Ian Crocker (USA)
Silver: Michael Phelps (USA)
Bronze: Andriy Serdinov (UKR)

This one could well be a repeat of the extraordinary event at the Barcelona world championships, where Serdinov, Phelps and Crocker in turn broke the world record in the semi-finals and final.

The Australians Huegill and Pine are well off the pace, and will not figure in an event that Australia once dominated.

200m Butterfly
Gold: Michael Phelps (USA)
Silver: Pawel Korzeniowski (POL)
Bronze: Justin Norris (AUS)

And so begins the Phelps procession. There are three events in which he is all but unbeatable, and the rest will race for silver. My prediction for Phelps Olympics is four gold and two silver (including the two freestyle relays), which is nothing short of phenomenal. Unfortunately, many in the media will perceive anything short of a Spitz as failure.

Any of a further ten athletes could win a minor medal.

200m Individual Medley
Gold: Michael Phelps (USA)
Silver: Thiago Pereira (BRA)
Bronze: Ryan Lochte (USA)

Again, this could be a close race for silver between a number of athletes.

400m Individual Medley
Gold: Michael Phelps (USA)
Silver: Alessio Boggiatto (ITA)
Bronze: Laszlo Cseh (HUN)

Boggiatto and Cseh are the clear candidates for silver. No one comes close the Phelps for gold.

4x100m Freestyle Relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Russia
Bronze: South Africa

World record holders Australia will have a tough time getting a medal, let alone retaining their Olympic title. In 2000 Michael Klim was in blistering form, breaking the individual world record in leading off the relay. Fydler, Callus and Thorpe also swam extremely fast splits to beat the Americans by a whisker. This year, Klim is recovering from injury and only two swimmers broke 50 seconds in the 100m final of the Olympic trials (compared to 6 americans under 49.5).

This year, the Americans look unbeatable. Jason Lezak is in worlds best form, and with the addition of Crocker and Phelps to the team, the Aussie record is surely in danger. The fight for the minor medals will be between Australia, Popovs Russia, South Africa, and perhaps Italy.

4x200m Freestyle Relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: Italy

The Americans are very quick in the 200m, but Australia has a secret weapon, and its not Ian Thorpe. Grant Hackett swam a disappointing 200m in 2000, missing out on the world record breaking relay final. This year, he is nearly four seconds faster. With solid swims from the supporting crew of Sprenger, Pearson, Matkovich and Stevens Australia could well break the record again.

The American team led by Phelps will not be far behind, and the Italian team led by Rossolino and Brembilla should be good for a medal.

4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Great Britain

With the top ranked competitor in each stroke, including three world record holder, the USA are a lock. Barring disqualifications, the rest are competing for silver. Australia will be strong, and Britain, Ukraine and Russia will all be aiming for a medal.


Medal Tally:
USA 14 Gold :: 8 Silver :: 5 Bronze :: 27 Total
Australia 11 Gold :: Silver :: 5 :: 8 Bronze :: 24 Total
Japan 3 Gold :: 0 Silver :: 2 Bronze :: 5 Total
Netherlands 1 Gold :: 4 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 5 Total
Poland 1 Gold :: 2 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 3 Total
Germany 1 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 1 Bronze :: 3 Total
Ukraine 1 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 1 Bronze :: 3 Total

Petria Thomas 5 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 6 Total
Michael Phelps 4 Gold :: 2 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 6 Total
Ian Thorpe 3 Gold :: 1 Silver :: 0 Bronze :: 4 Total

Aussie women 7 Gold :: 2 Silver :: 5 Bronze :: 14 Total
Aussie men 4 Gold :: 3 Silver :: 3 Bronze :: 10 Total
US women 3 Gold :: 5 Silver :: 2 Bronze :: 10 Total
US men 11 Gold :: 3 Silver :: 3 Bronze :: 17 Total

Compiled By Jonathan Paxman

Posted by Darren at 05:47 PM | Comments (5)

Libby Lenton learns signals for psychological warfare

"LIBBY LENTON does not know when it will come, or how it will come, but she does know that the psychological warfare is about to begin.

The fresh-faced 19-year-old sprinter will arrive in Athens on Sunday for her first Olympic Games with a target on her forehead as the world record-holder in the most coveted event in swimming, the 100metres freestyle.

And she is prepared for some of her rivals for the gold medal to greet her in the traditional fashion.

"Everyone who has been to an Olympic Games says to expect the unexpected, and that kind of psychological games do go on," Lenton said at the national team's training camp in Germany."

Continue Reading Lenton learns signals for psychological warfare.

Posted by Darren at 02:49 PM | Comments (1)

Ian Thorpe ready for 10 more years of Swimming

"Ian Thorpe says he believes his rivalry with American Michael Phelps could extend long past the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Thorpe was speaking to reporters overnight at the Australian team's training base in the German town of Sindelfingen.

"He's not the only one who can swim fast," Thorpe said of Phelps, who has replaced him as the number one swimmer in the world in the run-up to the Games.

"There are also some Europeans but my name is Ian Thorpe and I will swim very fast in Athens.

"I want to be swimming for another 10 years at least."

Phelps is hoping to better Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics by entering in eight events at Athens.

Thorpe, who already has three gold medals from Sydney four years ago, is chasing Spitz's career tally of nine."

Read more at Thorpe ready for 10 more years.

Posted by Darren at 02:39 PM | Comments (9)

World record omen for Japanese swim star Kosuke Kitajima

"Japan's double world breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima thinks the gods may smile on him in Athens despite seeing American rival Brendan Hansen smash both of his world record this year.

Hansen threw down the gauntlet to Kitajima in stunning fashion last month when he bettered the Japanese star's records in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the US trials.

But where other competitors might be unnerved by Hansen's rich vein of form, 21-year-old Kitajima has welcomed the American's emergence, saying it has given him a fixed target to home in on.

Now I am pumped up like last year, said Kitajima, chasing Japan's first Olympic swimming gold for 12 years. The target has been narrowed and I am looking forward to battling as a challenger."

Read more at World record omen for Japanese swim star Kitajima

Posted by Darren at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

"My name is Ian Thorpe and I will swim very fast in Athens"

"Australian swimming sensation Ian Thorpe has begun the war of words with rival Michael Phelps just over a week before the start of the Olympic Games.

American Phelps is aiming for a record eight gold medals at Athens and has taken over the mantle of number one male swimmer in the world from Thorpe.

"He's not the only one who can swim fast," Thorpe said of Phelps.

"There are also some Europeans but my name is Ian Thorpe and I will swim very fast in Athens.""

Read more at Thorpe throws down gauntlet

Posted by Darren at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

Ian Crocker - US Swimming Team

ESPN has a fascinating story about US Swimmer - Ian Crocker...

"The soft-spoken 21-year-old swimmer favored to win Olympic gold this month in the 100 freestyle has beaten Michael Phelps -- twice. He has broken a world record -- twice. He might very well become the first human being to butterfly 100 meters in less than 50 seconds. If it wasn't for Phelps, Crocker might be the swimmer on the cover of all the magazines -- the swimmer in all the commercials. And still it might be tough for most casual fans to recognize him. Two years ago, he couldn't even recognize himself.

Ian Crocker doesn't exude devil-may-care, like Michael Phelps. He doesn't give off any nice-to-meet you vibe, like Aaron Peirsol. He doesn't scream look-at me like Gary Hall Jr. He doesn't do Joe Cool, like Lenny Krayzelberg. He's got a shy gaze and a tentative way. He takes everything personally. He is the last to believe in his greatness.

Crocker is not really cut out to be an Olympic hero. Glory always rubbed him the wrong way. Most of his childhood trophies wound up shrouded in basement dust back home in Portland, Maine. This is a guy who secretly told his mom that international competition happened too quickly -- that he didn't want to be so good so soon. His parents, Rick and Gail, had to convince him to go to the Pan-Pacific Games in '99. Finally they went with him, as a concession."

Read more at ESPN.com - Who's that guy?

Posted by Darren at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2004

Yana Klochkova Olympic Profile

-- Ukrainian powerhouse, at 18 years old, churned through Sydney 2000 for gold in 200 IM and 400 IM and silver in 800 free.
-- Her 400 IM world record from Sydney still stands.
-- Competitors will include new U.S. star Katie Hoff, a 15-year-old who won the two IMs at the Olympic trials.

Her schedule
Aug. 14 -- 400 IM heat and final
Aug. 16 -- 200 IM heat and semi
Aug. 17 -- 200 IM final

Source - Swimming / Four to watch

Posted by Darren at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Grant Hackett Eyes 1500m World Record

"Grant Hackett is ready to break his 1500-metre world record at the Athens Olympics - even if his rivals doubt it will ever be broken.

Larsen Jensen, who won the 1500m at the US Olympic trials last month, said of Hackett's stunning 14 minutes 34.56 seconds: "It's such a fast time I don't know if it's going to happen again, because it's just so insane. The next time somebody gets close to that time might be in 20 years from now."

But Hackett feels that, with his good preparation in the Olympic lead-up, he is ready to better the mark, set at the world titles in Japan in 2001, which slashed almost seven seconds off Kieren Perkins's previous mark."

Read more Confident Hackett takes aim at 1500m record .

Posted by Darren at 08:47 AM | Comments (4)

Swimming medal shut out for Canada?

The last time Canada was shut out of the swimming medals at a Summer Games was forty years ago in Tokyo. This year threatens to be another. Of the eight members of the Canadian team that have previously competed, none has finished higher than fifth at a Summer Games. Twelve members are participating for the first time.

Canadian swimmers will struggle against the current in Athens Olympic pool.

Posted by at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Australian Swimming Team take Security Precautions

"Australian swimming officials are so intent on ensuring nothing goes wrong with their Olympic team that they are avoiding commercial airlines.

Instead, the 42 swimmers and almost as many support staff will fly from their German training camp to Athens on Sunday in a chartered aircraft.

Australian Swimming wants to keep the team as relaxed as possible when they touch-down in the Olympic city, five days ahead of the August 13 opening ceremony.

The swimming team, which some have predicted will be Australia's most successful in any Olympics, has been training in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, since late last week to acclimatise to the European summer.

Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said commercial flights into Athens were considered unsuitable."

Continue reading Cotton wool for Aussie swim team.

Posted by Darren at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe Battle will be Olympic Highlight

"Swimming, perhaps for the first time, is threatening to trump athletics as the main attraction at the Athens Olympics, thanks to Michael Phelps (news - web sites) and Ian Thorpe (news - web sites).

The pair are bidding for places in swimming immortality by tackling two of the sport's greatest records and their clash promises to be the highlight of the August 13-29 Olympics.

Phelps is aiming to better Mark Spitz (news - web sites)'s record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics while Thorpe, who already has three gold medals from Sydney four years ago, is chasing Spitz's career tally of nine.

Phelps surpassed Thorpe as the number one swimmer by setting five world records and winning four gold medals at last year's world championships in Barcelona.

But the American teenager has his sights set even higher in Athens, contemplating a gruelling schedule that would make him the greatest Olympian of all time."

Continue reading Phelps and Thorpe Battle Looms as Olympics Highlight

Posted by Darren at 10:54 AM | Comments (3)

Athens Olympics Medal Predictions - Swimming

USA Today has put together a list of predictions of Medalists in Swimming at the Athens Olympics. Their predictions are very interesting and are dominated by traditional rivals, US and Australian Swimmers. The following is an excerpts from their article including their predictions.

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USA TODAY staffers compiled the projections by analyzing competition results and world rankings and with input and information from the national and international governing bodies of Olympic sports, NBCs 2004 Olympics website (nbcolympics.com) and sports-specific publications, including Real Judo magazine and The Chronicle of The Horse.

SWIMMING
SWIMMER TO WATCH: The USA's Michael Phelps will be swimming for a record eight gold medals which would eclipse Mark Spitz's 1972 total of seven if U.S. coaches pick him for all three U.S. relay teams.

Men
50 free
Gold: Gary Hall Jr., USA
Silver: Alexander Popov, Russia
Bronze: Roland Schoeman, South Africa
Inside scoop: Hall, who tied Anthony Ervin for 50 free gold in Sydney, swam the world's fastest time this year at the U.S. trials and wants to go out on top in his third Olympics.

100 free
Gold: Alexander Popov, Russia
Silver: Pieter van den Hoogenband, Netherlands
Bronze: Jason Lezak, USA
Inside scoop: Popov lost to van den Hoogenband in Sydney but beat the Dutchman at the 2003 worlds. With a win, Popov, 32, becomes the first male swimmer to win three Olympic titles in one individual event.

200 free
Gold: Pieter van den Hoogenband, Netherlands
Silver: Michael Phelps, USA
Bronze: Ian Thorpe, Australia
Inside scoop: Thorpe hasn't approached his world record in many months and Phelps still is developing in freestyle, leaving van den Hoogenband to crash the Games' glamour event.

400 free
Gold: Ian Thorpe, Australia
Silver: Grant Hackett, Australia
Bronze: Klete Keller, USA
Inside scoop: Thorpe must justify the public pressure put on countryman Craig Stevens to relinquish his 400 free spot after Thorpe DQed at trials by slipping off the starting block.

1500 free
Gold: Grant Hackett, Australia
Silver: Larsen Jensen, USA
Bronze: David Davies, Great Britain
Inside scoop: World recordholder Hackett hasn't lost a 1500 race since 1996 and is so dominant he won the final at the 2003 worlds by more than seven seconds.

100 back
Gold: Aaron Peirsol, USA
Silver: Matthew Welsh, Australia
Bronze: Arkady Vyatchanin, Russia
Inside scoop: The USA's Lenny Krayzelburg, defending Olympic champion in both backstroke events, could surprise for a medal but the glory this time goes to Peirsol.

200 back
Gold: Aaron Peirsol, USA
Silver: Matthew Welsh, Australia
Bronze: Arkady Vyatchanin, Russia
Inside scoop: Peirsol has won two world titles and set the world record in the 200 back since finishing second to U.S. teammate Lenny Krayzelburg in Sydney.

100 breast
Gold: Brendan Hansen, USA
Silver: Kosuke Kitajima, Japan
Bronze: James Gibson, Great Britain
Inside scoop: At the U.S. trials, Hansen broke both breaststroke world records Kitajima set while winning the 100 and 200 at last year's world championships.

200 breast
Gold: Kosuke Kitajima, Japan
Silver: Brendan Hansen, USA
Bronze: Dmitry Komornikov, Russia
Inside scoop: In the last two years Kitajima, the 5-9 swimmer known as the "Pocket Rocket," has lowered the world record twice in the 200. He'll want it back from Hansen.

100 fly
Gold: Michael Phelps, USA
Silver: Ian Crocker, USA
Bronze: Andriy Serdinov, Ukraine
Inside scoop: Phelps will be motivated to beat Crocker for the second time in four tries this year in order to earn a spot on the USA's medley relay finals team.

200 fly
Gold: Michael Phelps, USA
Silver: Takeshi Matsuda, Japan
Bronze: Takashi Yamamoto, Japan
Inside scoop: The 200 fly was the only event Phelps swam as a 15-year-old in Sydney. He finished fifth but less than a year later broke the world record.

200 IM
Gold: Michael Phelps, USA
Silver: Massimiliano Rosolino, Italy
Bronze: Laszlo Cseh, Hungary
Inside scoop: One reason Phelps dropped the 200 back from his Athens program was to not detract from his showcase 200 IM, which he won by more than three seconds at 2003 worlds.

400 IM
Gold: Michael Phelps, USA
Silver: Laszlo Cseh, Hungary
Bronze: Massimiliano Rosolino, Italy
Inside scoop: Cseh, recovering from a broken bone in his foot, finished nearly two seconds behind Phelps at last year's worlds. Phelps beat his own 400 IM world record at the U.S. trials.

4x100 free relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Russia
Inside scoop: The U.S. team will be fired up to avenge its loss in the 400 free relay to the Aussies in Sydney, the USA's first-ever defeat at the Olympics.

4x200 free relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: Germany
Inside scoop: The Aussies won at the 2000 Olympics and at the last two world championships, a streak likely to continue as long as Ian Thorpe is on their side.

4x100 medley relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Japan
Bronze: Russia
Inside scoop: With potentially three world record-holders setting up the freestyle anchor, the U.S. team is an overwhelming favorite in an event the USA never has lost at the Games.


Women
50 free
Gold: Inge de Bruijn, Netherlands
Silver: Lisbeth Lenton, Australia
Bronze: Alison Sheppard, Great Britain
Inside scoop: De Bruijn won three golds and set three world records in Sydney, including the 50 free, an event she won at the 2003 worlds after not competing for two years.

100 free
Gold: Lisbeth Lenton, Australia
Silver: Inge de Bruijn, Netherlands
Bronze: Hanna-Maria Seppala, Finland
Inside scoop: Lenton broke de Bruijn's 4-year-old world record at the Australian Olympic trials in March, swimming almost a full second under her previous fastest time.

200 free
Gold: Franziska van Almsick, Germany
Silver: Petria Thomas, Australia
Bronze: Solenne Figues, France
Inside scoop: Van Almsick, with two of her eight Olympic medals in the 200 free, goes for her first gold in the event for which she skipped the 2003 worlds to prepare.

400 free
Gold: Hannah Stockbauer, Germany
Silver: Sachiko Yamada, Japan
Bronze: Camelia Potec, Romania
Inside scoop: Stockbauer finished sixth in Sydney, despite entering the race with the No. 1 world ranking. Yamada and Potec enter with the world's fastest times this year.

800 free
Gold: Hannah Stockbauer, Germany
Silver: Sachiko Yamada, Japan
Bronze: Diana Munz, USA
Inside scoop: Unless Munz scores an upset over two-time world champion Stockbauer, the U.S. women will leave without 800 free gold for the first time in six Olympics.

100 back
Gold: Natalie Coughlin, USA
Silver: Antje Buschschulte, Germany
Bronze: Katy Sexton, Great Britain
Inside scoop: World record-holder Coughlin, slowed by a virus at the 2003 worlds, can reclaim the event she stamped by becoming the first woman to swim it under a minute.

200 back
Gold: Katy Sexton, Great Britain
Silver: Reiko Nakamura, Japan
Bronze: Margaret Hoelzer, USA
Inside scoop: Sexton could become the first British woman to win an Olympic swimming title since 1960. Hoelzer finished second to Sexton at the 2003 worlds.

100 breast
Gold: Liesel Jones, Australia
Silver: Luo Xuejuan, China
Bronze: Tara Kirk, USA
Inside scoop: Jones won silver as a 14-year-old in Sydney. Kirk beat a deep field, including reigning world silver medalist Amanda Beard, at the U.S. trials.

200 breast
Gold: Amanda Beard, USA
Silver: Liesel Jones, Australia
Bronze: Hui Qi, China
Inside scoop: Jones broke Qi's world record on July 10 during heavy training, then two days later Beard, the reigning world champ, eclipsed the new mark at the U.S. trials.

100 fly
Gold: Petria Thomas, Australia
Silver: Inge de Bruijn, Netherlands
Bronze: Jenny Thompson, USA
Inside scoop: Although she's the reigning world champion in the 100 fly, Thompson is likely to come up short in her last bid for individual Olympic gold.

200 fly
Gold: Otylia Jedrzejczak, Poland
Silver: Yuko Nakanishi, Japan
Bronze: Petria Thomas, Australia
Inside scoop: Thomas has the world's fastest time this year, but Jedrzejczak is the reigning world champion. Jedrezejczak finished fifth in Sydney at age 16.

200 IM
Gold: Yana Klochkova, Ukraine
Silver: Amanda Beard, USA
Bronze: Katie Hoff, USA
Inside scoop: Since sweeping the IM events in Sydney, Klochkova has lost only once in major international competition finishing second in the 200 at the 2001 worlds.

400 IM
Gold: Yana Klochkova, Ukraine
Silver: Katie Hoff, USA
Bronze: Eva Ristov, Hungary
Inside scoop: Klochkova's experience could carry her past Hoff, 15, who emerged in recent months to become the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team.

4x100 free relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Germany
Inside scoop: The USA's Jenny Thompson, likely to be on the U.S. relay team despite a subpar 100 free at trials, needs two medals to have more than any swimmer in Olympic history.

4x200 free relay
Gold: USA
Silver: Australia
Bronze: Great Britain
Inside scoop: The U.S. team has won both golds since this event was added at the '96 Games. The Brits were fourth at last year's worlds and could be the greatest challenge.

4x100 medley relay
Gold: Australia
Silver: USA
Bronze: China
Inside scoop: China claimed last year's world title while the USA and Australia finished 2-3. The U.S. team hasn't finished out of first at the Games since 1988.

Posted by Darren at 10:50 AM | Comments (5)

August 03, 2004

Suit improvements take swimmers to new heights

Suit improvements take swimmers to new heights
"The suits that looked so revolutionary in Sydney - some covering the entire body - are now commonplace at the Olympic pool.

But the quest to make swimmers go faster hasn't let up, shifting to more subtle changes such as fabrics that reduce drag, formfitting caps and streamlined goggles.

"From a technical standpoint, we've made another big leap forward," said Steve Furniss, a 1972 Olympic bronze medalist and co-founder of TYR Sport, one of the leading swimsuit manufacturers.

Everyone has a catchy name to promote its suit. Top dog Speedo has the "FSII," successor to the Fastskin that was worn by 80 percent of the medal winners in Sydney. Tyr has the "Aqua Shift." Nike has the "Swift Swim.""

Posted by Darren at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

Malaysia's Swimmers and Divers Get Cash Allowance

"The Malaysian swimmers and divers will not be short of motivation to produce their best performances in the Athens Olympics.

The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) president, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, will give the seven athletes and their respective coaches an allowance of 300 euros (RM1,370) each.

The money was handed to Asum secretary Edwin Chong yesterday."

Continue Reading Cash cheer for divers, swimmers.

Posted by Darren at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps - Built for Speed - TIME Magazine

"Even before a single Olympic medal has been hung around his neck, Michael Phelps is rewriting the manual on what it means to be a world-class swimmer. Entered in five individual events and a candidate for each of the three relay races in Athens, Phelps has the potential to win eight gold medals, and eclipse the standard held by Mark Spitz, who won seven golds in 1972. It's a long shot, but no one is better prepared to do it. Just 19, Phelps holds the world record in three of those five individual events and is a fingernail's distance from the record in a fourth.

In a sport in which most athletes would be happy to qualify for one event, that he can try for eight medals is amazing. Trained in the individual medley, an event that requires mastery of all four swimming strokes, Phelps possesses a phenomenal ability to compete with the best specialists in three of those strokesbutterfly, backstroke and freestyle. In the fourth, the breaststroke, he's merely outstanding. In fact, at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials last month, Phelps became the first swimmer to qualify for six individual events. (He will drop the 200 backstroke in Athens.) "He is really redefining our expectations of swimming excellence," says Pablo Morales, a two-time Olympian in the butterfly and Phelps' role model. "He is blazing his own trail now, and there is probably a whole global army of young swimmers who are looking up to him.""

Continue reading TIME: Built For Speed

Posted by Darren at 06:37 PM | Comments (1)

Natalie Coughlin Poised for Olympic Medal

"When Natalie Coughlin swam her first butterfly race at age 6, she was disqualified.

Natalie Coughlin plans to swim the 100-meter backstroke and freestyle and three relays.

She didn't cry.

When she failed to make the U.S. team for the 2000 Olympics because of torn cartilage in her shoulder, it portended a rapid decline for the former high-school phenomenon.

She didn't quit.

When she went to Barcelona last summer with expectations of being the female counterpart to Michael Phelps at the world championships, she became ill and failed to win an individual medal.

She didn't even pout.

Throughout her career, the 21-year-old Northern Californian has proven as resilient as she is buoyant, in and out of the pool. Now, after excelling in the obscurity of non-Olympic years, she is in position to star on the only stage anyone outside her sport notices.

Though the Olympic schedule forced her to reduce the number of individual events she will enter in Athens, Coughlin still could become the first American woman to win five gold medals in swimming in one Olympics (100 backstroke, 100 freestyle and three relays). Amy Van Dyken won four golds in 1996 (50-meter freestyle, 100 butterfly and two relays). Kristin Otto of East Germany holds the overall record with six gold medals in the Seoul Olympics." Read more at USATODAY.com - Swimmer Coughlin poised for pedestal.

Posted by Darren at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps makes the Cover of TIME Magazine

"Towson resident Michael Phelps is on the cover of Time magazine's Olympic Preview this month.
The swimmer has the potential to win eight medals, most of them gold, and eclipse the standard held by Mark Spitz, who won seven golds in 1972.

Pablo Morales, a two-time Olympian in the butterfly and Phelps' role model, told the magazine that Phelps is "redefining our expectations of swimming excellence.""

Source - Michael Phelps featured on cover of Time's Olympic Preview

Posted by Darren at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

Jenny Thompson - Athens Olympics

"If ever there were a deity you would want on your side, it would be Athena. She was the goddess of wisdom and war.

If ever there were a swimmer you would want on your side, it would be Jenny Thompson.

Thompson, 31, will be swimming in her fourth Olympics at Athens. She has won eight gold medals, more than any American woman in any sport and one from equaling the Olympic record. Her eight golds have come in relays.

Certainly, Thompson has been through the wars. As long ago as 1987, when she was 14, she won a gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle in the Pan Am Games at Indianapolis. Her 14 World Championship medals are the most by any swimmer."

Continue reading Greek God or Olympic athlete?.

Posted by Darren at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

Australian Swimmers Drug Tested on Arrival

"WHEN the Australian swimming team arrived in Germany for its pre-Olympic training camp, the drug testers were waiting at the hotel.

Australia's two highest-profile swimmers, Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett, who last week said they didn't believe the Olympic Games would be "clean", were among the first singled out for testing over the weekend.

In all, 12 of the 42 swimmers were required to provide urine samples before they had even unpacked."

Read more at Athletes tested on arrival

Posted by Darren at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2004

Ian Thorpe Almost Quit Swimming

"AUSTRALIA'S strongest swimmer nearly didn't make it into the Olympic squad: Ian Thorpe was ready to quit two years ago and returned to the pool only because his new coach made his sport fun once more.

"It would have been quite possible for Ian to leave swimming," says his coach of almost two years, Tracey Menzies. "I think it's a tribute to him and what he does - if he doesn't enjoy what he's doing and he does not perform, then he is not going to stay on in the sport.

"We should feel very privileged he's still in the sport and still offering a lot to the sport and to the other swimmers who look to him as a mentor.""

Read more at Thorpedo almost quit, says coach.

Posted by Darren at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps may not Swim in 4x100 freestyle relay

"Michael Phelps might not get a shot at breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in one Olympics Games. He might only have the opportunity to tie it.

After dropping the 200 backstroke from his Olympics to-do list, Coaches told Phelps this week that he may not be swimming on the 4x100 freestyle relay team in Greece, ESPN The Magazine reported. If Phelps does not swim in the relay, it would bring his total to seven events, making it impossible for him to break Spitz's golden record."

Read more at MSNBC - Report: Phelps might be left off relay team.

Posted by Darren at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2004

US Swimmers to wear Energy Patches

"Specially treated energy patches used by swimmers at the Olympic trials earlier this month will be sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for testing amid concerns the patches contain testosterone.

The president of the company that makes the LifeWave Energy Enhancer called the accusation ridiculous and said the patch contains only amino acids and water-based solutions.

"I can understand why coaches or athletes would have questions, because this technology is very new, very different," David Schmidt told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think it's a very good thing for sports. It's a way for athletes to improve their performance and not endanger their health."

Officials with the anti-doping agency would not confirm they received the patches....

Six female swimmers at Stanford University wore the patches on their shoulders during the trials, held July 7-14 in Long Beach....

The patches are designed to electronically stimulate acupuncture points, inserting current into the body to help an athlete improve stamina, according to Schmidt. No substances enter the body, he said."

Read more at Treated patches on U.S. swimmers raise questions.

Posted by Darren at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Inge de Bruijn - Netherlands

"Four years ago, Inge de Bruijn set three world records and won three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics. Going into the Athens games, she is a more experienced but somewhat less dominant swimmer. 'I'm not worried about setting world records. I just want to win' she says after a training session at the Tualatin Hills Swim Center.'The field is so much stronger that winning is enough. If a record happens, it happens.'

De Bruijn, who competes for the Netherlands but lives here most of the year, is set to swim in as many as five races: the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, the 100 butterfly and two relays. Her coach, Paul Bergen, who mentors swimmers through the Oregon Thunderbolts club program, says de Bruijn is still the swimmer to beat in at least two of her races.


"She hasn't had the same consistent training as she did in the four years prior to the Sydney Olympics" Bergen says. "But she's been pretty focused since October. And her times are still No. 1 in the world. If we get her best in the games, I think she can repeat. It's just going to be tougher because there are so many better swimmers these days""

Read more at Medal mettle.

Posted by Darren at 11:00 AM | Comments (3)

July 29, 2004

Australian Women's Swimming Team - Best Ever?

"AUSTRALIA's Athens-bound swimmers are capable of matching Sydney's record medal haul in the pool at next month's Olympic Games.

That was the confident prediction from national head coach Leigh Nugent as the Australian team jetted out for its pre-Olympic camp in Sindelfingen, Germany, yesterday.

Australia had its most successful result in swimming at the 2000 Olympics, winning five gold and 18 medals overall.

But in Greece, the team will be competing on foreign soil and in the middle of a European summer, making many hesitant to predict a repeat performance.

But Nugent said yesterday Sydney's haul was one of Australia's targets in Athens and a feat that was not beyond the 42-strong team.

"I think so," Nugent said when asked if the team was capable of matching Sydney's result in Athens." Read more at FOX SPORTS: Women's swim team best ever

Posted by Darren at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe in Trouble over Drug Claims

"Triple Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe's claim that some of the swimmers he will come up against in Athens next month will have taken drugs has landed him in hot water with the sport's governing body, FINA.

In an interview with Channel 7 on Tuesday Thorpe asserted: "It would be naive to think that everyone's going to be clean at the Olympic Games.

"Of course I've swum against doped athletes." The 21-year-old's comments were later echoed by Australian team-mate Grant Hackett.

Thorpe's remarks provoked a stinging response from FINA which said in a statement that it "regretted" the Australian swimming champion's remarks." Read more at Thorpe scolded over Olympic drugs claims.

Posted by Darren at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

Andrew Bree and Steven Manley may Quit Swimming for Ireland

Andrew Bree and Steven Manley are reported to be considering not swimming for Ireland again after failing to be selected for the Olympic Games.

Both missed out on the qualifying times but still hoped to go to Athens.

Bree, from Helen's Bay in County Down, could switch to swim for Britain, his father Barney said.

Manley said it was a kick in the teeth to be rejected for the Olympics and that he might not compete for Ireland at October's World Championships.

Source - Swim duo may quit Ireland

Posted by Darren at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)

Grant Hackett Confident about Australian Swimming Team

"Australian 1,500 metres world record holder Grant Hackett believes Australia is set to challenge the supremacy of the United States in the pool at the Athens Olympics.

He said both countries had selected strong teams for the Games.

But Hackett said it was important not to think too far ahead. He said the Australians would simply concentrate on ensuring their preparation was the best it could be.

"Our team looks really strong as does theirs," he said. "Right now we're just focusing on team bonding and getting together.

"We've still got two weeks to go so we can't get ahead of ourselves and think about what it's going to be like at the village, or the atmosphere at the Olympic Games."

Read more at Hackett confident of good showing against US.

Posted by Darren at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)

British Swimmers Silenced

British swimming boss, Bill Sweetenham has put a ban on his swimmers speaking to the media in the lead up to the Athens Olympics.

"A phone call to the Amateur Swimming Associations Press Office in Loughborough confirmed Edmonds position. "Yes, Bills called for a media blackout," explained the communications assistant, Martin Perry.

"Its been a nightmare for us because we keep getting requests for interviews, but Bill has insisted that there are to be no such distractions. There was a final get together with swimmers and journalists at the British Long-course Championships in Manchester last week and that was it. Now Bill has said that the swimmers have to concentrate fully on the job in hand. Im just hoping Ill have plenty of requests later on for interviews in celebration of some great British success."" Read more at Scotsman.com Sport - Top Stories - Swimmers hope silence is golden.

Posted by Darren at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

Yi Ting Hopes for Olympics Semi Finals

Malaysian women swimmer Siow Yi Ting will be out to make a breakthrough in her second Olympics appearance in Athens next month.

The 18-year-old, who is based in United States but currently training in Slovenia, is targeting a place in the semi-finals (top 16) of the 200m breaststroke event in Athens.

And to make sure that she concentrates all her effort on the objective, Yi Ting is contemplating dropping the 400m individual medley, one of the four events she has qualified for.

I want to make sure that I am totally focussed on what I am going for.

No Malaysian women swimmer has finished in the top 16 before in the Olympics and I hope to become the first to do so.

I feel I have the best chance of achieving this in the 200m breaststroke. Read more at Swimmer Yi Ting to focus on making semi-finals in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Swimmers' modesty to be preserved

Japanese Swimmers in Athens will wear swimsuits that are made of material unable to be seen through with infrared cameras.

"OSAKA (Kyodo) Descente Ltd. said Friday it has developed swimwear material that remains opaque when filmed by an infrared camera.

The material will be used by Japanese swimmers at the Athens Olympics, which open Aug. 13.

The material, dubbed Video Proof, will be used as lining in swimwear and is intended to ease concerns by female swimmers over being shot by infrared cameras, which can make regular swimwear appear transparent, the Osaka-based sportswear company said.

"Since there are some competitive swimmers who can't concentrate on swimming (due to the situation), with their results adversely affected in the competition, we hope to back them up as much as possible (with the new material)," a company official said.

Seven swimmers including Junko Onishi, a bronze medalist at the Sydney Olympics, will use swimwear that incorporates the material, company officials said."

Source - Swimmers' modesty to be preserved

Found via Engadget

Posted by Darren at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2004

Michael Phelps and Gary Hall Jr Profiles

Sports Network has a good profile of Michael Phelps and Gary Hall Jr.
"Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz are separated in age by 35 years, but soon they may share a place in swimming history.

That's what will happen if Phelps, a 19-year-old phenom from Baltimore, can match Spitz's 32-year-old record of seven gold medals in one Olympics. If he manages to break it, Michael Phelps will be a household name.

And with so many side issues being discussed as the Athens Games approach, there's a chance that in a few weeks no one will be talking about anything but the kid with the arsenal of swimming talents.

Nobody's saying it will be easy, but Phelps is almost expected to challenge the record Spitz set during the 1972 Munich Games after missing expectations four years earlier in Mexico City."

Posted by Darren at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2004

Geoff Huegill - On Olympic Doping

This interview with Australian swimmer Geoff Huegill gives an interesting insight into how recent doping allegations focused on Australian Cyclists and Weightlifters have impacted the rest of the Australian Olympic Team.

"Geoff Huegill says the drug controversies surrounding cyclists and weightlifters are unlikely to taint the Australian swimming team's performances at the Athens Olympics.

Australian Olympic great Dawn Fraser last week predicted Australian athletes would be taunted by their rivals in Athens following the recent drug scandals in cycling and weightlifting.

But Huegill was unconcerned about the controversies in other sports tarring the Australian swimmers' performances in Greece.

"You'd like to think that every sport is clean and that everyone is on the same wicket but unfortunately ... it just doesn't happen like that," he said.

Huegill and Olympic gold medal contender Libby Lenton said the culture in swimming was such that any Australian caught taking performance-enhancing drugs would be ostracised."

Read more of this article at The Age: Huegill says swimmers will be okay

Posted by Darren at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2004

British Swimming Chief Slams GB Swimming Facilities

British swimming chief Bill Sweetenham has launched a savage attack on the country's level of investment in sport.

The Australian, who last week signed a four-year extension to his contract, renewed his critcism of the quality of facilities in Britain.

"Although they think they've invested large amounts of money, it's been tiddlywinks," he told BBC Five Live. Read More at GB chief slams facilities

Posted by Darren at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

America Eyes off Gold Medal Haul in Pool

"Four years ago, there were grim predictions about Americas swimming hopes at the Sydney Games.

The Australians had home-pool advantage and seemed poised to take over as the worlds dominant power. What did the U.S. team do? Put on one of the great performances in Olympic history: 14 golds and 33 medals overall.

No one is talking doom and gloom this time. If anything, the Americans are expecting to do even better in sweltering Athens, where there will be no roof over the pool for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games.

This could be one of the strongest teams since the 76 team, said Eddie Reese, the U.S. Olympic mens coach. Since that time, the other nations in the sport have gotten a lot better, and the speed of the sport has gotten a lot better." Source - American swimmers poised for medal haul in Athens - 7/24/04

Posted by Darren at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2004

US Swimming Team Robbed

"A three-room suite at the Sheraton Hotel being used by members of the United States Olympic swimming team was burglarized Wednesday. The losses, totaling $10,000 in undisclosed possessions, were reported at 11:20 a.m., according to Palo Alto police.

Jim Rebosio, general manager of the Sheraton, said the suite was being used as a team meeting room and training area. He said the items missing include a laptop computer, two DVD players, and a video projector." Source - Palo Alto Online: Olympic swim team burglarized

Posted by Darren at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2004

Lenny Krayzelburg Qualifies for Athens

'"Swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg will go to the Athens Olympic Games, thanks to placing second in his race during the U.S. qualifying trials, a feat greeted with greater acclaim and emotion than his three gold medals in Sydney four years ago.

The Jewish immigrant from Odessa had the media, 10,000 spectators and even his rivals cheering as he finished the finals of the 100-meter backstroke in 54.06 seconds, behind world champion Aaron Peirsol.

With only the top two in every race assured a berth on the U.S. Olympic team, Krayzelburg beat third place Peter Marshall by four-hundredth of a second."'

Read More at The Jewish Journal Of Greater Los Angeles.

Posted by Darren at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

Jenny Thompson - Olympics Profile

The Sport Network has a good profile of US Swimmer Jenny Thompson - the most decorated female Olympian of all-time.

'"I think that my perspective on things have changed a lot," said Thompson. "I'm having a lot more fun with the sport than I ever have. I'm more relaxed with it. The gold medal isn't the main priority at these Games for me. I would love to do the best I can for my country and I want to swim better than I ever have before. The gold medal isn't waking me up. It's not what's getting me out of bed in the morning."'

Posted by Darren at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

Laszlo Cseh Breaks Bone in Foot

Laszlo Cseh, one of the swimmers tipped to challenge Michael Phelps in Athens in medly races, has reportedly broken a bone in his foot at a training camp this week.

'The 18-year-old European champion in the 400 individual medley and 100 backstroke will have further examinations on the broken metatarsal bone today in Budapest's Sport Hospital.' Read More at Phelps' medley rival breaks foot.

Posted by Darren at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

2004 Summer Olympic Games Previews -- Swimming & Syncronized Swimming

Sport's Network has added two more good previews of events at the Athens Olympics which include history of the events as well as tips for August's competition.

2004 Summer Olympic Games Preview - Synchronized Swimming
2004 Summer Olympic Games Preview - Swimming

July 21, 2004

Lim Keng Liat Aims for 100m Backstroke Final

'No one gave swimmer Lim Keng Liat a ghost of a chance in the World Championships in Barcelona last year but he surprised the elite field to qualify for the final of the 100m backstroke with the fifth fastest time.�

The Sabahan now wants to swim his way into the history books again in the Athens Olympics next month.�

Keng Liat, who is now training in a camp in Croatia, will be making his third appearance in the Olympics in Athens and he will aim to qualify for his first-ever final.�

To make the 100m backstroke final, Keng Liat needs to break his own national record of 54.77, which he set when qualifying for the final of the World Championships....

No Malaysian swimmer has ever qualified for a final of a swimming event in the Olympics. But after his achievement in the World Championships, Keng Liat feels it is not an impossible task.' Read More at Swimmer Keng Liat in bid to make first-ever final in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2004

British Swimming Team - Massive Improvement

British National performance director Bill Sweetenham says that the British Olympic Swimming Team has improved massively in the lead up to Athens.

'Sweetenham has presided over a remarkable turnaround in fortunes in a relatively short space of time after the team emerged from the Sydney Olympics empty-handed.

Just a year later, the team, vilified by the press who questioned their continued Lottery funding after the Sydney debacle, returned from the World Championships in Fukuoka with seven medals, including gold for the women�s 4x200 metres relay team.

However, it was last year�s world event in Barcelona which illustrated the extent of the improvement when Katy Sexton and James Gibson won gold � in the 200m backstroke and 50m breaststroke respectively � as a haul of eight medals was secured.

Now the team has very realistic medal ambitions for Athens and Sweetenham underlined the extent of the strides that have been made prior to the national long-course championships in Manchester.'

Read More at Sweetenham Upbeat Ahead of Athens

Posted by Darren at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

US Long Distance Swimmers Get $1 Million Incentive

I just saw this buried down the bottom of an article on the US Swimming trials.

'Hoping to spur more interest in the long distance events, USA Swimming is offering $1 million to an American swimmer who wins gold and sets a world record in either the women's 800 or men's 1,500.'

Source - U.S. Swimmng Trials: Veteran, youngster earn wins

Posted by Darren at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Crocker Breaks 100m Butterfly World Record

'Ian Crocker broke a world record with a time of 50:76 for the 100m butterfly stroke in the US at the Olympic swimming trials in California prior to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Crocker held the previous record at 50:98. The successful swimmer said on Wednesday that he was very happy to have improved upon the record he broke in Barcelona at the 2003 World Championship. ' Source - 100m Butterfly World Record Set

Posted by Darren at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Michael Phelps - Going for Eight Gold Medals

Michael Phelps has announced that he will compete in 8 events at the Athens Olympics in August.

He will take part in the 200 meters freestyle, 100 and 200 meters butterfly and 200 and 400 meters individual medley. He will also enter three relay races. Source - Phelps to Bid for Eight Olympic Golds

Posted by Darren at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps - Will he or Won't he?

The Santa Cruz Sentinal takes a look at the attempt of Michael Phelps to win 7 Gold Medals at the Athens Olympics.

'Let�s get something straight. If Michael Phelps wins seven gold medals in Athens he will not have tied Mark Spitz�s record, but crushed it and done a huge service for swimming along the way.

He has already brought unheard-of attention to the U.S. Olympic trials, with networks cutting away from the track and field trials just to show Phelps� semifinal races. Every year after an Olympics, USA Swimming reports a large increase in membership. Phelps� quest to win the most gold medals in a single Olympics in any sport will boost those numbers even higher.

What makes the attempt at the record so enthralling is that, in order to bring home the hardware, Phelps and his relay teammates will have to swim their best races ever under the weight of crippling expectations.' Read More at Phelps chasing more than Spitz: Pursuit of seven golds may be loftiest goal in sports history

Posted by Darren at 11:09 AM | Comments (9)

July 14, 2004

US Men's Swimming Team to be Dominant

'When Aaron Peirsol pulled himself up on a lane line and pumped his fist at the crowd after breaking the world record in the 200-meter backstroke Monday at the Olympic swimming trials, he might as well have been trumpeting the whole United States men's team.

With only a few events left to swim here, the team has largely taken shape. The women have made a decent showing, but the men have been dominating center stage. Five of the six world records at this meet have been set by male swimmers, and the men have formed a team that looks like an Olympic powerhouse.

"The men's team is as good as I've seen since '76," said Eddie Reese, the Olympic men's coach. "As far as world-record holders, in the worldwide competition, it's an extraordinary team."' Read more at Men's Swimmers Have Potential to Be Dominant at the Games

Posted by Darren at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Phelps Qualifies for six Olympic Events

Michael Phelps became the first American male swimmer Tuesday evening to qualify in six Olympic events, but once again he proved he is not invincible.

It should be noted, however, that Peirsol and Crocker both required world records to hold off Phelps. With a time of 50.76 seconds in the 100 fly, Crocker bested his own world mark of 50.98, which he set last year. Phelps finished second at 51.15.

Source

Posted by Regan at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

Phelps misfires on golden target

Michael Phelps, the American swimmer with the golden ambition of taking home seven golds at Athens was outclassed by fellow team mate Aaron Peirsol in the 200 metre backstroke who set a new world record, handing Phelps his first loss of the US Olympic simming trials in the process.

'Peirsol and Phelps were both under record pace for the first three laps, but Peirsol led all the way and pulled away on the final leg for a time of 1 minutes, 54.74 seconds -- breaking his own mark of 1:55.15 set two years ago'

Source

Posted by Regan at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2004

Lindsay Benko Makes Athens Olympics Team

Lindsay Benko has booked herself a place on the US Olympic Swimming team for the Athens Olympics in the 200 meters freestyle. Benko lead through the first three laps of the final at the US Olympic Trials only to be narrowly beaten in the finish by team mate Dana Vollmer. Both will represent the US in the event in Athens.

'An Olympian again, Benko achieved her most important objective of this meet, more than enough pain-reliever for the bruised competitor in her.

"I'm a little disappointed with the time, but I got the place I needed," Benko said before she could catch her breath after the race. "Second's just as good as first when you're here."' Source - Benko wins Olympic team spot

Posted by Darren at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2004

Michael Phelps on Track to Beat Spitz Record

'Michael Phelps made it three in a row at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Saturday, dominating the 200-meter butterfly to stay on course in his bid to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in Athens.

In a symbolic moment, Phelps and Spitz met for the first time during the award ceremony. Spitz presented Phelps with his medal and pulled the 19-year-old close, whispering something in his ear.

Spitz then climbed atop the medal stand and held Phelps' right hand in the air, as if passing off the baton to the swimmer who could break one of sport's most revered records � seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Games.' Source - Spitz passes baton as Phelps makes it three in a row

Posted by Darren at 02:47 PM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2004

Canada Qualifies in 4x100m Freestyle Relay

Canada has qualified for the 4x100 meter freestyle relay at the Athens Olympics after Brent Hayden smashed the National record for 100m.

'"I think the guys are very excited about the potential of this relay," said Lupien, a former Canadian record holder who has overcome an injury suffered in a car accident and a pierced eardrum to make the team. "I seriously believe we can challenge for a medal, but we'll need all four guys to go under 50."' Source - Canadian freestyle relay team headed to Athens

Posted by Darren at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

China Takes British Relay Place

China has been given a place in the mens 4x100 meters freestyle relay after Britain withdrew from the race in a shock announcement.

'"We had almost no hope. However, we were informed that because the British team gave up their chance in the relay, we could take advantage of their exit," China Swimming Association vice president Shang Xiutang said.'

Read more at - China takes British relay place

Posted by Darren at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

Petria Thomas Swimming Well in Butterfly

Petria Thomas is swimming fast. Yesterday in Brisbane she clocked a 58.80sec time in a 100m butterfly heat.

'Her effort, logged during a week of heavy training, was only a smidgen slower than Rachel Komisarz's winning time of 58.77sec at the US trials and faster than American Olympic great Jenny Thompson, who was second at the Californian meet in 58.98sec.'

Source - Petria primed for gold

Posted by Darren at 10:33 AM | Comments (56)

Leisel Jones is Relaxed and Ready for Athens

Leisel Jones this week swam a second best in the world time in Brisbane in the 200 meters breaststroke suggesting that she will be in contention for a Gold medal at the Athens Olympics.

'The prodigiously talented Queenslander, who will be competing in her second Olympics before even having celebrated her 18th birthday, dominated the 200m final with a 2min 24.88sec swim that duplicated to the last decimal point her performance at the Australian championships in March.

However, this swim was constructed without the benefit of a rest or taper, with Jones having just last week logged the 10,000th training kilometre of her career.' Read More at - Relaxed Jones firing fluently

Posted by Darren at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

Brendan Hansen Breaks World Record

Brendan Hansen set a new world record in the 100m breaststroke at the US Olympic trials in Long Beach, California.

The new world record time is 59.30 seconds.

The previous record was held by Kosuke Kitajima of Japan at 59.78 seconds. Source - Hansen breaks world record

Posted by Darren at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps Aims for 200 meter Gold

Michael Phelps is Eying off the Gold Medal for 200 meters butterfly amid speculation of more World Records to come.

'World record-holder Michael Phelps cruised into the semi-finals of the 200m butterfly and prepared to face the escalating demands of his ambitious six-event programme at the US Olympic swimming trials.

Phelps, 19, launched his Athens qualifying campaign by improving his own world record in the 400m individual medley on Wednesday.

But coach Bob Bowman said he didn't expect to see Phelps better his butterfly world mark in his semi-final Friday night, which will fall less than an hour after he competes in the 200m freestyle final.
'
Found at - Olympics: Phelps takes aim at 200m freestyle title

Posted by Darren at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2004

Lindsay Benko - Second in Qualifying Race

'Gold medalist Lindsay Benko is at it again trying to quality for a chance to compete at the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens.

Today, Benko placed second out of 62 other swimmers in the preliminaries for the 400-meter freestyle at the trials in California.
'
Read More at - Benko places second in preliminaries

Posted by Darren at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

Natalie Coughlin Could Win 5 Gold

After suffering from a virus a year ago heading into the World Championships in Barcelona Natalie Coughlin has recovered and could win as many as 5 Gold Medals at the Athens Olympics.

'After examining the Olympic competition schedule, Coughlin decided this spring to swim just two individual events in Athens. She hopes to be placed on three relays, for a shot at a mere five medals.


"It's better for me to do really well in two or three (individual) events than mediocre in four or five," she says.


Even a scaled-down schedule puts her in excellent position to make U.S. swimming history. No American woman has ever won more than four gold medals in swimming in one Olympics � Amy Van Dyken won two individual and two relay golds in 1996.


Coughlin planned all along for the 100 backstroke, in which she'll open in the preliminaries and semifinals today. But she was forced to decide between two events in which she holds the American record, the 100 freestyle and the 200 back. Here and in Athens, the 200 back semifinals are scheduled 12 minutes before the 100 free final.'
Found - Profile lowered, Coughlin on lookout for gold

Posted by Darren at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Phelps Breaks World Record

'Michael Phelps began his quest for Olympic history with a world record.

Phelps, 19, who hopes to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in Athens, broke his own mark in the 400-meter individual medley with an electrifying swim at the U.S. Olympic trials last night.

In the first final of the eight-day event, Phelps put up a time of 4 minutes, 8.41 seconds, eclipsing the record of 4:09.09 he set at last year's world championship in Barcelona.' Source - Phelps breaks his own 400-meter world record at U.S. trials

Posted by Darren at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

Markus Rogan Aims for a Gold Medal

Austria has not won an Olympic Swimming Gold Medal since the 1912 Olympic Games in Sweden - however Markus Rogan is aiming to change this in Athens.

'Rogan, a 6-foot-5 backstroke specialist, is well aware of the large expectations from fellow Austrians that will be riding on his shoulders in a few weeks. He's trying hard to stay grounded.

"You can call it a lofty goal for Austria," he said, "but I don't see myself just as an Austrian. America has taught me to expect more."

Maybe that's why he chooses to downplay his recent success at the European Swimming Championships in Madrid, where he won gold medals in the 200 back and 200 individual medley and silver in the 100 back.

The golds were the first by an Austrian in the 78-year history of the event, but Rogan said, "I didn't really even prepare for the meet. I never really stopped my training at Stanford. In the long run now, it's all a quest for Mount Olympus."' Source - Austria's Rogan gunning for gold

Posted by Darren at 12:44 PM | Comments (5)

Michael Phelps Qualifies for 400m Individual Medley

World Record holder, Michael Phelps, has qualified for the Mens 400 Individual Medley in a time of 4:16.11.

'The man who will chase Mark Spitz's seven gold medals from the Munich Olympics took early command of his heat and held off Ryan Lochte, who qualified for the finals in second (4:19.75). ' Source - Men's 400 IM Prelims: Surprise!: Phelps Cruises to the Top Spot�

Posted by Darren at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2004

Michael Phelps goes for Gold Medal Record

Michael Phelps is aiming to bring home a bag full of gold medals from the Athens Olympics in August. He's also hoping to knock off Mark Spitz's record of seven Olympic gold medals.

'Michael Phelps wants to make history. The quest begins Wednesday in a temporary pool set up in a parking lot.

Phelps revealed that he will swim six individual events at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, setting his sights on breaking Mark Spitz's 32-year-old record of seven gold medals at the Athens Games.

It's a formidable task, one that Phelps will try to pull off swimming four different strokes against world-class rivals who specialize in only one.

But the 19-year-old from Baltimore doesn't seem concerned that he's spreading himself too thin. Besides the individual events, he also hopes to swim two or three relays in Athens.' Source - Phelps focuses on breaking Spitz record

Posted by Darren at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

Hackett Beats Thorpe in 200m

Grant Hackett today beat Ian Thorpe in a 200 meter lead up race to the Athens Olympics.

'GRANT Hackett spent a gruelling hour in the gym then beat world record holder Ian Thorpe in a 200m freestyle race for the first time in three years today - but he's not getting too excited just yet.

Hackett clocked 1min 49.18sec to touch out a bearded Thorpe at the Brisbane grand prix meet.

"Winning that race today, it's not anything to get too carried away about," said Hackett.

"It's nothing to jump up and down about."

The 24-year-old Olympic 1500m freestyle champion last beat Thorpe in the 200m freestyle at the 2001 Goodwill Games in the same the Chandler Aquatic Centre pool.' Source - Hackett cool after win

Posted by Darren at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

Ian Thorpe's Advice for Michael Phelps

Ian Thorpe has given rival Michael Phelps some advice in the lead up to the Athens Olympics in August. The main thrust of his advice was to 'forget about Mark Spitz's seven gold medals.'

'At next month's Athens Olympics, Phelps is considered a chance of equalling, or even bettering, the seven golds Spitz won in the pool at the 1972 Munich Games.

But Thorpe said today the 19-year-old American would be setting himself up for unwarranted disappointment if he tried to emulate his fellow American's record feat.

Thorpe gave up a shot of seven gold medals in Athens when he decided to drop the 200m individual medley from his program earlier this year, opting to concentrate solely on freestyle events.

"In terms of what Michael's trying to do, I've said before and I still hold the position that I don't think anyone's going to win seven gold medals at an Olympics," Thorpe said in Brisbane.' Source - Forget gold: Thorpe

Posted by Darren at 03:29 PM | Comments (7)

July 04, 2004

Holland's Chris DeJong to swim at US Olympic Swimming Trials

Holland's Chris DeJong's childhood dream was to compete at the Olympic Games - this week at the US olympic swimming trials he will get his chance to prove himself.

'The 20-year-old knows he will need a peak performance and a little help this week at the U.S. Olympic Trials to earn a spot on the team....

"I'm a longshot," said DeJong, the former Holland High School standout who currently swims for the University of Michigan. "Anything can happen at the Olympic Trials. The best of the best crumble under the pressure. But I'm not trying to think about what the results may be.

"I have to stay within myself and show people what I can do."

DeJong is planning to enter two events at the Olympic Trials: The 200-yard backstroke and 200 freestyle. The meet begins Wednesday.' Source - Swimmer ready to test his abilities at trials for Olympics

Posted by Darren at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Zimbabwean Swimming Team of 3

'Kirsty Coventry, Brendan Ashby and Kim Brackin will travel from Alabama to Greece, all in the name of Zimbabwe.

Coventry and Ashby represent the south African country's entire swim team for the Athens Games. Brackin will be their coach.

"It's very cool," Coventry said of the all-Alabama team.

Even cooler: The 2000 Olympian and NCAA 200-meter backstroke champion is a legitimate contender for Zimbabwe's first swimming medal.

Coventry, a rising senior, has already gotten over two humps recently. A five-time NCAA runner-up, she won her first individual title by setting a meet record in the 200 backstroke. She also topped Natalie Coughlin of California, a three-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year who had never lost a race in college.

Both Coventry and Ashby have been training on campus with their respective college coaches. Brackin will coach them in Greece....'Read More at - State trio representing Zimbabwe in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 09:18 PM | Comments (4)

July 01, 2004

Short pools, long odds for Cambodia

Cambodia's swimmer Heam Kiri is getting ready for his event at the Athens Olympics - the biggest problem he's faced in his lead up is finding a 50 metre pool.

'Swimming 50 metres without hitting a wall half-way is still something of a novelty for Heam Kiri.

Not that war-ravaged Cambodia's finest freestyler cannot make it that far in a straight line. Until a month ago, he simply did not have a pool long enough.

"The pool is old and we have only been allowed back in to train in the last month, which is not really enough time," said the 24-year-old Athens hopeful, drying himself off after an early morning dip at Phnom Penh's very own 'Olympic Stadium'....

Heam Kiri notched up his 50-metre personal best of 26.48 seconds at the Sydney Games in 2000. That may leave him trailing in the wake of Russia's Alexander Popov, whose world record over the distance is 21.64 seconds, but few Cambodians are bothered.'

Source - Short pools, long odds for Cambodia

Posted by Darren at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Swimming's top 400m exponents won't meet till Olympics

Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett will not clash in the 400m freestyle until the Olympics following Thorpe's decision to skip the event next week in Brisbane which means the world's two best 400m swimmers will go into their eagerly-awaited Athens showdown on August 14 having not faced each other in the event for more than a year.

Source - Swimming - Swimming's top 400m exponents won't meet till Olympics

Posted by Regan at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Naperville swimmer has Olympic dreams

Two-time national collegiate swimming champion, American record holder and three-time Illinois Swimmer of the Year Mary DeScenza heads to California early next month for the Olympic trials.

Source - Swimming - Naperville swimmer has Olympic dreams

Posted by Regan at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2004

Hackett calls for Smarter Drug Testing

Grant Hackett, Australian Olympic 1500m freestyle champion, has called for
better and more cunning drug tests in the lead up to the Athens Olympics.

'The Olympic 1500m freestyle champion, one of Australia's best hopes for a gold medal in Athens, wants drug testers to become more cunning in their tactics to catch cheats in the lead-up to the Games.

"I think testers have got to be a little bit sly and hide behind the curtain when it comes to drug testing," Hackett said at the opening of a Wall of Fame at Bond University, on the Gold Coast.

"If they tell what is out there then people are going to go off and use something else.

"I think things have got to be done a little bit more strategically when it comes to drug testing so they can start catching things out like they are."' Source - Hackett wants better drug tests

Posted by Darren at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

British Swimmers Warm Up

British Olympic Swimming Team Chief, Bill Sweetenham, is confident that their recent spell of warm weather training has been a successful strategy in getting acclimatized for the upcoming Athens Olympic Games.

'"We've still got work to do outside the pool to make sure we can handle the distractions of the Olympic environment and that's what we have to concentrate on between now and August."' - Source - British swim team buoyant

Posted by Darren at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Male synchronized swimmer not allowed to compete in Olympics

One of the US's best synchronized swimmers will not be allowed to compete at this year's Athens Olympic Games. Bill May has beaten virtually every person competing in Athens this year but will not be allowed to compete there because it is an event reserved for females only.

'This summer he wanted the chance to compete in a new category, mixed pairs, but the US Synchronized Swimming Federation decided not to ask for the event. May says, "It was a huge disappointment and it was very humbling. ... It's a political sport in that it's kind of like a clique at school."

There's been talk of dropping synchronized swimming from the Olympics, and some believe the fact it's a women-only sport keeps it in the games. The theory, by pushing to allow Bill May and a new mixed pairs event in the games, the sport could be pushed right out of the Olympics.

Olympic synchronized swimming coach Chris Carver says, "If we get too controversial, maybe we would be the ones to go, and we don't want to be the ones to go."' Source - Male synchronized swimmer not allowed to compete in Olympics

Posted by Darren at 01:10 PM | Comments (5)

June 19, 2004

US Swimmers not phased by lack of Roof

The US Olympic Swimming Team says it is not concerned if the Olympic swimming venue does not have a roof in August.

'Athens organisers had come under intense criticism in March when construction delays forced builders to scrap plans to cover the swimming venue.

While spectators can expect to broil in the searing summer sun, American swimmers like 18-year-old Michael Phelps, who will attempt to match Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics, are predicting fast times and few problems.

"A pool is a pool," Phelps said. "We're all going to be competing under the same conditions and the swimmers will adapt.

"If a pool has lanes and water that's all you need."

There had been fears that without the protection provided by the steel and glass roof, swimmers would suffer under the elements and force drastic changes to training programs in the final build-up to the August 13to 29 Games.'

Source - Pool roof no worry for US

Posted by Darren at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

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