SWIMNEWS ONLINE: January 1996 Magazine Articles

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Nick Thierry

Men's 50 freestyle: The crowd was wild with anticipation as sprint kings Scherer and Borges would race and surely bring more glory to Brazil.

At the start, Scherer just made a brief movement as if to jump, held back, the gun went and that hestitation allowed Francisco Sanchez, VEN, to touch ahead of Scherer, 21.80 to 22.08. China's Jengji Jiang took the bronze ahead of Borges, 22.17 to 22.23.

Dynamic Duo: Fernando Scherer and Gustavo Borges celebrating Brazil's success. For larger 50k photo click on image. Photo © Ari Gomes

Sanchez, still on a high from the previous day's bronze medal in the 100 free, now was humbled by his success. "It's a great honour to beat two world class swimmers like Borges and Scherer. Before the competition I thought I had no chance. My coach showed me the possibility existed and here I am with the gold.

"This will be another historic feat for Venezuela. We had a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics, but this is the first gold medal at a world level competition.

"Since January I've been training in the United States and I have been improving ever since. The Venezuelan government has helped me financially to go there. I think I will have a chance at a medal in Atlanta."

Women's 200 individual medley: Elli Overton, AUS, left nothing to chance. After finishing out of the medals in the 400 I.M. she went after this one and was on record pace at the midpoint. She faded a bit towards the end but was able to touch ahead of Martina Moravcova, SVK, 2:11.67 to 2:11.91.

Canada's Marianne Limpert finished fifth with 2:12.94. Surprisingly, Joann Malar, the winner in the 400 I.M. missed the finals and was second in the B-final.

Men's 200 individual medley: Another classic showdown for Matthew Dunn, AUS and Curtis Myden, CAN.

Australia's Matthew Dunn takes the lead at midpoint from Canada's Curtis Myden in the 200m I.M. For larger 50k photo click on image. Photo © Ari Gomes

Myden had the lead at the midpoint, but Dunn's much improved breaststroke leg allowed him to move ahead of Myden, and his strong freestyle clinched his second individual gold. It was his fastest ever time and an Australian and Commonwealth record. Dunn also picked up another gold in the 4x200 free relay.

Women's 200 backstroke: It was Mette Jacobsen's turn. One of two Danish swimmers at the championships she had already competed in three events, winning the silver in the 100 back and a bronze in the 200 fly. Now was her chance for gold.

She took the lead early and held it throughout the race. Her winning time of 2:08.18 was a personnal best. Dagmar Hase, GER, won the silver, and Leigh Habler, AUS, the bronze.
Julie Howard, CAN, qualified fifth, finished eighth.

Men's 100 backstroke: Cuba's Falcon was the most experience in the field, qualifying second but had little trouble in winning the final. "It was exactly what I expected," Falcon said. "I felt I could win it on the last length, and was confident of my preparation."

Neil Willey, GBR, and Jirka Letzin, GER, were the other medal winners. Chris Renaud, CAN, after his silver medal in the 200 back, lacked the speed of the others. He qualified seventh and finished eight with 54.66. Mark Versfeld, CAN, was sixth in the B-final.

Women's 4x100 medley relay: Australia had the edge with Samantha Riley, whose breaststroke leg was three seconds ahead of Canada's Lisa Flood. That was the difference as the other legs were pretty well evenly matched.

Barbara Bedford, USA, had the fastest lead-off 1:00.31, but Julie Howard's 1:01.11 was just ahead of Australia's Elli Overton's 1:01.40.

Riley split 1:05.74, Angela Kennedy 58.90 for the fly leg and Susan O'Neill cruised a 54.42, for an Aussie win in 4:00.46.

Canada was a solid second in 4:03.89, another record after bettering it in the prelims with 4:10.96.

Men 4x100 free relay: Samba time Brazil was to defend its world title from 1993 and maybe get a new record. The win was easy - the margin of victory over Australia was five seconds, about half a pool.

Scherer started off with a meet record of 47.63, an inspired Alexandre Massura, split 48.16, but had the closest relay take-over of the meet, happily legal. By the time Borges swam the anchor it was no longer a race but an exhibition.

Their time of 3:12.42 missed their own world record from 1993 of 3:12.11, but victory was sweet and the hometown crowds could roar its approval. Everyone in the stands stood and sang the entire national anthem.

Australia took the silver and Romania a bronze ahead of the United States, who finished sixth (which will become a great trivia question years from now).

Men's 1500 freestyle: The last event of the championships produced its share of excitement. Daniel Kowalski, AUS, had to hold off Ian Wilson, GBR, who doggedly kept up to the leader. Wilson had the lead briefly around the 400, but Kowalski fought back and stayed ahead the rest of the way.

Kowalski's winning time was 14:48.51 to Wilson's 14:49.72 for second. Jorg Hoffmann, GER, was third in 15:05.36. Kowalski won this event two years ago with 14:42.04.

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