SWIMNEWS ONLINE: September 1997 Magazine Articles

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1997 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

Strong USA Team Wins

Krayzelburg, Grote, Walker, Men's World Leaders
Thompson, Bennett, Quance Tops Among Women
Australians Closing The Gap With Klim, Riley and O'Neill


Paul Quinlan

FUKUOKA- The United States had a resounding victory with 19 gold, 14 silver, and 18 bronze medals from 36 events.

Australia finished second with 12 gold, 7 silver, and 5 bronze medals, not leaving many for the other competing countries. The home team, Japan, finished third with 2 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze medals, which must have been a disappointment for them on their home ground. Costa Rica took home 2 gold and 1 silver medal through their one competitor, the talented Atlanta Olympic silver medallist in the 200 freestyle, Claudia Poll.

The Fukuoka Pool
For larger 64k photo click on image. Photo © Darrin Braybrook/SPORT The Library

Canada, one of the four Pan Pacific charter nations, went home without a top medal, not finding the recipe for gold at this meet. Time after time they were tantalizingly close to a win, but finished with 7 silver and 6 bronze.

China, with a small contingent of athletes, won 1 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze. Puerto Rico, also with only one competitor, Ricardo Busquets, was successful with 1 gold (a tie for first in the 50 free with William Pilczuk, USA) and 1 bronze. Other countries to medal were South Africa with 1 silver and New Zealand with 3 bronze medals.

The NISHI Civic Pool (50 m) and warm up-swim down facility with the large diameter lane lines were ideal for fast swimming. The host nation, which has conducted four of the seven Pan Pacific Championships held to date, was very cooperative and did the utmost to conduct a meet of world standard. The SEIKO electronic display board and results service from the touch pads were the best to date. The large screen PANASONIC television monitor gave close-up views both above and underwater not normally available to spectators.

Yet no world records came. Many of the elite athletes were obviously targetting the coming World Championships or stayed home, as did a number of Australians who will swim their trials in early October.

The top sprinter of the meet was Michael Klim, AUS, of the straight arm recovery, who took two of the three gold medals in the sprint freestyle category. He won the 200 in a time of 1:47.60. Later, he led off Australia's 4x200 free relay with an even faster 1:47.56 to become the world's leading performer in 1997.

Klim's 100 winning time was 49.46, with an even faster 49.15 in his lead-off leg of the 4x100 free relay.

The Australian Institute of Sport and Coach Gennadi Touretski prepared Michael Klim, who was born in Poland and lived in several countries before his family settled in Australia when the young swimmer was seven years of age. He celebrated his 20th birthday on the third day of this meet.

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