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.
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
Bennett was 16 when she won the 800 freestyle at the Atlanta
Olympics, where Evans closed her stellar career with a sixth-place
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
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
Ian Crocker, an 18-year-old from Portland, Maine, where there
are no 50-meter pools, claimed fourth in 52.44, which broke the
"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.
|Brooke Bennett led from the start to win her second consecutive gold in the 800 freestyle.|
Hall, Ervin tie for gold in 50 free
Van Dyken, Torres advance after 50 free prelims