World record holder Jingyi Le, CHN, was first away and maintained that lead for the first 25 with Jenny Thompson, USA, gradually pegging her back. Thompson turned first in 26.64, followed closely by the Chinese swimmer (26.98), who appeared content to wait until the 75 to make a serious challenge. But it was too late to pass the experienced US champion.
Jenny Thompson maintained technique and rating to win in a new Pan Pac record of 54.82. Le was timed at 54.86 and the third-place finisher Catherine Fox, USA, was timed at 56.07.
The B Final went to Melanie Valerio, USA, in 56.90.
In the 100 free, the order changed immediately after the field surfaced from an even start off the gun. The leaders were Neil Walker, USA, Sion Brinn, JAM, and Michael Klim, AUS.
Walker maintained his lead into the turn with a 23.62, followed by Klim with a 24.04. But it was the 19-year-old from "Down Under," Klim, who powered home with his straight-arm recovery technique specially moulded for him by Coach Gennadi Touretski at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Ricardo Busquets, PUR, won the first medal for his country at this meet with 49.94, splitting 24.21, for the bronze. He moved ahead of fourth-place finisher Stephen Clarke, CAN, whose 50.06 was a personal best.
Jon Olsen, the most experienced sprinter on the USA team, won the B Final in 49.95.
The A Final was the race many came to see this evening with the current and previous World Record Holder and World Champions pitted against each other.
Samantha Riley, AUS, is on the comeback trail after a not-so-pleasant Olympic year. The Olympic champion and first gold medallist for South Africa since their readmission to the Games, Penny Heyns, has been finding it difficult to settle down.
Starts have been good, and this race was no exception, with the field moving as one off the blocks, but the South African appeared strong underwater and headed Riley to the surface. However, from there it was the smooth technician from Coach Scott Volker's Commercial Club in Brisbane who took over the running and the lead at the turn, splitting 31.87 to Heyns' 32.26.
Riley maintained her style and pace to hold off a challenge from Heyns at the 75. From there on, Riley increased her lead by another half second in the second 50.
Watch for fireworks in Perth in January.
Kristy Kowal, USA, went under the 1:10 barrier to take the bronze with 1:09.18, touching out Tara Sloan, CAN, who snuck under the same mark recording 1:09.89, a personal best, just ahead of teammate Lauren van Oosten by 2/100ths of a second.
Helen Denman, AUS, won the B Final in 1:10.05.
All swimmers moved away well from the gun, but it was the Australian Philip Rogers who went out with Kurt Grote, USA, to lead the field at the first turn. Grote's split at the 50 was 28.82 and Rogers' was 29.03.
Grote held off a strong challenge by Rogers who went a length of stroke in striving to overhaul his opponent, both making a good race of it to finish with 1:01.22 and 1:01.85 respectively. Jarrod Marrs, USA, was third all the way, splitting 29.24 and finishing with 1:02.64. Grote's time moved him to fourth on the all-time list, an improvement of 12 places.
The B Final went to Jeremy Linn, USA, in 1:01.88, which would have placed him third in the major final.
Kristine Quance, the 22-year-old Californian, was the standout athlete in this event, winning every leg of this endurance medley. Her splits were 1:02.16, 2.14.96, 3:34.26, and 4:39.61 to move up from fourth in the 1997 World Rankings to the number one spot at the close of this meet.
Madeline Crippen, USA, 17 years old, took the silver medal with a solid 4:43.20. She is coached by Dick Shoulberg at the Foxcatcher Club in Pennsylvania, USA.
Joanne Malar, CAN, a Kinesiology student at McMaster University coached by Gaye Stratten, took the bronze with a 4:44.17.
Jamie Cail, USA, won the B Final in 4:47.19.
No comment on the A Final of the 400 IM would be complete without noting that the Olympic champion and world record holder, Tom Dolan, USA, dramatically stopped at the 315 mark in his prelim, obviously struggling for breath. This has apparently occurred previously in recent times. Dolan went on to swim a 4:30 and scratch from the B Final. His prelim was won by the diminutive Aussie Trent Steed, 4:23.97, over Ron Karnaugh, USA, 4:24.20.
Media representatives were advised that Dolan had suffered an asthma attack, similar to that which occurred in a recent event in the US. In both these races it happened in the freestyle leg. It appears that he is affected by hot steamy conditions, as was the case in Fukuoka.
In the 400 final, with Curtis Myden, CAN, and Matthew Dunn, AUS, in the same race, there is always excitement for the spectators. The pair did not disappoint. Curtis went out with a solid 100 butterfly in 57.69 followed by the Chinese Wei Wang 58.51. At this stage Matthew was third in 58.71 having recovered from fifth at the first turn.
The Canadian was still leading at the conclusion of the backstroke in 2:04.15, Wei Wang second, 2:04.76, followed by Dunn, 2:05.61. Not many gave the Australian a chance at the halfway point, but by the 250 mark Dunn had climbed up to second behind Myden. It was still the Canadian in the lead at 300 in 3:16.67 to the Australian a second away in 3:17.85.
Then came a great last 100 freestyle by both swimmers, with Matthew Dunn finally overtaking his long-time competitor to win in a Commonwealth record time of 4:16.11. The time for Myden was 4:16.30. Dunn's time moved him from tenth on the all-time best list to seventh.
Trent Steed, Dunn's teammate from the AIS in Canberra, took out his first international medal with a strong bronze-medal performance of 4:21.07.
In the 4x200 free, there were two races: a battle for the gold between the U.S. and Canada, and a battle for the bronze between early leader Australia and Japan.
The USA team finished the 800 relay just one second ahead of the Canadian girls, in 8:07.82. Australia (8:13.92) held on to take the bronze from the home team, Japan (8:15.28).
The Australians were quietly confident before this event, but with a virus racking the energy of some of their endurance swimmers, they had to be satisfied with the silver medal and a 7:15.72 to the strong USA winning time of 7:13.99, a new Pan Pac record.
Chad Carvin, USA, split 1:48.26 in leading off and Josh Davis anchored in 1:47.35, while Michael Klim gave the Australians a chance with a 200 lead-off in 1:47.56, and the teenager Grant Hackett anchored in 1:47.95.
The New Zealanders won bronze with 7:28.33, ahead of Japan, just one second behind in 7:29.13.