Pan Pacific Champs Day 1-Finals
Victoria-Canada got the crowd on their feet from the get go with a gold and bronze in the 800 free. There was no stopping them after that, uplifting Jessicah Schipper and Michael Phelps to a pair of new world records in the 200 fly and near misses for Aaron Peirsol and Kate Ziegler.
Men's 800 Free
Canada opened the meet with a spectacular gold-bronze punch, as the Canadian crowd got downright crazy cheering for hometown boy Ryan Cochrane (CAN) and Andrew Hurd (CAN). It was 17-year old Cochrane who took the race out, leading until the 500, well under 8 minute pace. "I haven't raced those guys much before so I just wanted to take it out to the 400 and see what panned out," said Cochrane. But Hurd, known for his backend, turned on the turbo jets at the 400 mark, reeling in Cochrane. Hot on his heels was Troyden Prinsloo (RSA). Both men passed Cochrane by the 600 split and it was a battle to the finish. Hurd hung on for the win in Canadian record time of 7:55.88 to Prinsloo's 7:56.82, while Cochrane, also under the old Canadian record and 6 seconds under his PB, was third in 7:58.32. "When it started to hurt at the 500," said Cochrane, "it was great to see everyone cheering." Hurd echoed this sentiment. "For sure," he said. "I was really hurting on that last 200 so it was great to hear the crowd." Hurd had the Canadian record on his mind all season: "My goal going into this race was the record, and when a couple top people like Peter Vanderkaay (USA) and Erik Vendt (USA) dropped out of the race a few days ago, I knew I had a chance to win."
Women's 200 Free
It was all Katie Hoff (USA) tonight in this one. She looked cruising as she held off a fast closing Linda MacKenzie (AUS) to win in 1:58.02-1 1/100th under her best. "Every time you go a best time and win on the first night, it is just amazing," said Hoff. On her tough schedule she replied, "I take one race at a time and focus on it, then I move on." MacKenzie finished in 1:58.26, while her teammate Bronte Barratt (AUS) touched in 1:58.59. Brittany Reimer (CAN) was 7th in 2:01.39, faster than her heat swim.
Men's 200 Free
Canada hoped to repeat their great 800 finishes, but crowd favourite Brent Hayden (CAN), who has been battling illness all season, just could not get the win. He was first at the 50 before Olympic medallist Klete Keller (USA) took control. Keller won in 1:46.20, a clear victory over the field. Hayden dropped to 4th spot as Tae Hwan Park (KOR) came in at 1:47.51 over Lin Zhang (CHN) in 1:47.59 to Hayden's 1:47.78. "This is fun," said Keller. "Especially when people are doing really well. I train with Andrew Hurd everyday, so it is great to see him do so well."
Women's 100 Back
Natalie Coughlin led at the 50, out in 29.20, but she struggled against the lane line. As she came home, she still couldn't get off the rope, add in the loss of her legs, and she was no match for the fast finishing Hanae Ito (JPN) who out-touched the Olympic champ 1:00.63 to 1:00.66. Third spot was Olympic medallist Reiko Nakamura (JPN) in 1:00.86. "The lane lines were not a problem coming home, but it is something I've been doing a lot lately. That's definitely not a best swim, my training has been excellent, and I'm not out of shape, so I honestly don't know what to say about that race."
Men's 100 Back
It was set up to be the showdown of the night, Ryan Lochte (USA) had the fastest heat swim and Aaron Peirsol (USA) had to chase him down-that's exactly how it played out. Lochte had a perfect start and Peirsol came up half a body length behind, they went stroke for stroke down the first 50, but Peirsol's turn put in out front and he continued to build from there. He stormed home, touching just off his world record in 53.32 to Lochte's 54.02. "Each year I'm getting better and I don't think I've reached the top of my best yet, so when guys like Ryan are pushing me, it's great. We don't have to travel the world for this kind of great racing, we can do it in our own backyard."
Women's 200 Fly
She was pegged as the queen of the Aussie team coming into Victoria-the only woman capable of breaking a world record-she did not disappoint. Under world record pace from the get go, Schipper gave the crowd yet another reason to go mad. Her splits: 28.35, 1:00.11, 1:32.46, and 2:05.40. Schipper smiled as she marched out on deck and said that being relaxed must have helped. So too did the fans. "I heard the crowd, and it really helped me, so thank you so much! It's just amazing to break the world record, I can't believe it!" In for silver in a personal best as Yuko Nakanishi (JPN) in a very fast 2:06.52, followed by countrywoman Yurie Yano (JPN) in 2:07.86.
Men's 200 Fly
Not to be outdone by the women, Michael Phelps rocked out another world record with his powerful turns and final 50. Out under world record pace, he battled back and forth with Ryuichi Shibata (JPN) before charging off the 150 wall and putting a body length on Shibata as he touched in 1:53.82 to Shibata's 1:55.82 and Takeshi Matsuda's (JPN) 1:56.20. Phelps' splits: 25.79, 55.27, 1:24.65, 1:53.82. "It's a good start to the meet. I've wanted to do a best time in that event for a while now. I saw the other guys do well this morning, so I knew it would be close at the 150, but Bob (Bowman) and I were talking about having a strong kick off the last wall. I did that and was able to build some good momentum." As for the fans, "When the crowd is cheering like that you always know something good is happening!"
Women's 1500 Free
It was a true battle royale for the crown of distance queen-the winner-Kate Ziegler (USA) in the second fastest 1500 of all-time with a 15:55.01 to Hayley Peirsol's (USA) 15:57.36. Ziegler and Peirsol are now in some impressive company, they are now within striking range of Janet Evan's world record of 15:52.10 and the only other women to ever break 16 minutes. "I like to take it out fast," said Ziegler, "so I went out fast, but with Hayley there I couldn?t let my guard down. I really think it's great to have 3 Americans as the top 3 of all time. To continue such an amazing tradition of distance swimming is great." In for the bronze was Sachiko Yamada (JPN) in 16:11.13 and 14 year old Savannah King (CAN) had a solid swim for her first international meet with her 7th place spot in 16:46.38.