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Friday, September 22
Bennett sweeps distance races

SYDNEY, Australia -- Carrying on the distance swimming legacy of American Janet Evans, Brooke Bennett of Plant City, Fla., won the 800 freestyle.

Bennett captured the marathon of women's swimming in an Olympic record 8 minutes, 19.67 seconds -- lowering the old mark of 8:20.20 set by Evans at the 1988 Olympics.

Brooke Bennett
Brooke Bennett led from the start to win her second consecutive gold in the 800 freestyle.

Bennett, 20, became the first woman since Evans in 1988 to sweep the 400 and 800 freestyles.

"It's so exciting, so overwhelming to get two gold medals and break records," said Bennett, who was 3.45 seconds off Evans' 12-year-old world record of 8:16.22.

"Her times are the ones everybody looks at. I told myself that someday I'd like to break her records," she said.

Yana Klochkova of Ukraine was second in 8:22.66 for her third individual medal in these games.

Kaitlin Sandeno, a 17-year-old from Lake Forest, Calif., took bronze in 8:24.29.

"I got my best time by four seconds," Sandeno said. "That time is unbelievable for me. I was not sure I was going to get there."

Bennett was 16 when she won the 800 freestyle at the Atlanta Olympics, where Evans closed her stellar career with a sixth-place finish.

Bennett joined Evans as the only women to win two consecutive Olympic 800 freestyle titles.

"To do it again four years later is definitely something great," Bennett said. "I'm proud of myself."

Klochkova won the first swimming medal in Sydney with a world-record time in the 400 individual medley and followed up with victory in the 200 IM. She was swimming in her first major international 800 freestyle final.

Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands kept up her torrid pace, lowering her own world record in the women's 50 freestyle semifinals. She qualified first in 24.13 seconds -- bettering the 24.39 seconds she swam at a meet in June in Brazil.

De Bruijn won the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

"It's a shock again, to be honest. I saw my time and I said `Holy smoke,"' De Bruijn said. "It's ridiculous. Someone asked me what my limits are. I don't know. But the year 2000 is definitely my year."

Therese Alshammar of Sweden was second in 24.80. Dara Torres of Beverly Hills, Calif., was third in 24.98. Amy Van Dyken of Englewood, Colo., the 1996 gold medalist, was fourth in 25 seconds. The final is Saturday.

Lars Froelander of Sweden spoiled Australia's hopes for a 1-2 finish in the 100 butterfly, overtaking favorite Michael Klim in the final meters to win gold in 52.00 seconds.

"The two of them are very good swimmers, and beating them in their home country is an experience I can't really describe," Froelander said of his two Australian competitors.

Klim, the world-record holder, was second in 52.18, while Aussie teammate Geoff Huegill was third in 52.22. Froelander's upset quieted the sellout crowd of 17,500, which was its usual raucous self in cheering on the Australians.

"I knew Lars was going to be a danger," Klim said. "He's been a very consistent performer the last few years, so congrats to him. Every time I get in the water, I try to swim a best time, try to get a gold medal. Unfortunately in sports, it doesn't work out that way."

Ian Crocker, an 18-year-old from Portland, Maine, where there are no 50-meter pools, claimed fourth in 52.44, which broke the American record.

"I know in that race I gave it everything I had," he said. "I did it the right way -- mentally, physically, emotionally, everything -- so I'm not upset in the least."

Diana Mocanu, a 16-year-old from Romania, completed a sweep of the women's backstroke events, winning the 200 in 2:08.16. She took gold in the 100 in an Olympic-record time Monday despite coming into Sydney ranked seventh in the world in both races.

Roxana Maracineanu of France, who was born in Romania, won silver and Miki Nakao of Japan took bronze. Amanda Adkins of Ghanna, Ohio, was fifth.


Swimming results

Hall, Ervin tie for gold in 50 free

Van Dyken, Torres advance after 50 free prelims Help | Advertiser Info | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | Jobs at
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