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Day 1 - 2010 Pan Pac Swimming Championships
August 20, 2010
1:37 am
Forum Posts: 4297
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The Fast suits were banned in 2009.

RISING star Emily Seebohm has upset Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin to win her first international swimming title.
Seebohm was brilliant today as the Australian women made a stride towards re-establishing themselves as the world's No.1 female team on the opening day of the Pan Pacific championships at Irvine in California.

World champions Marieke Guehrer (50m butterfly) and Jessicah Schipper (200m butterfly) also maintained their international ascendancy as the Australian team claimed three gold medals.

Seebohm, 18, has been the world leader in the 100m backstroke (59.21sec) since the national trials in March but had to confirm that status in international competition, which she did in today's breakthrough performance.

She surged over the last 10m to pass both Coughlin (59.70sec) and Japan's Aya Terakawa (59.59sec) and win the title.

“I saw Natalie Coughlin (at about the 75m mark) and I thought, “I can't let you win this time”,” Seebohm said. “This is my first Pan Pac title and the first time I have beaten her.”

Seebohm had a busy night. She had earlier challenged Guehrer for victory in the butterfly sprint, falling just short of another victory.

Guehrer used all her experience to get on the wall first in 25.99sec, while Seebohm set a personal best time of 26.08sec, to claim the silver medal. She was the only swimmer to win two medals at the William Woollett Aquatic Centre last night.

Schoolgirl Yolane Kukla, the national champion in this event, was left to wonder what might have been after she equalled Guehrer's time in the “B” final. The 14-year-old, at her first international championship, paid the price for a slower heat swim. Under Pan Pac rules only two swimmers per nation can qualify for the final.

“I knew I could go faster tonight,” the sprint prodigy said.

“I was really hoping to go under 26 seconds. It was interesting that we tied.”

Schipper almost had a tie of her own after winning a nail-biting 200m butterfly final on pure courage. A back injury has impeded her preparation over the last month.

She was behind American Theresa Crippen at the final turn but drew on all her strength and experience to touch first in 2:06.90, just 0.03sec ahead of Crippen.

“It definitely hurt - I just kept telling myself I could breathe after I touched the wall,” Schipper said.

“After ten years doing the 200m fly, you get the gist of that last 50 and you know you are going to live through it.”

Teenaged freestylers Blair Evans and Katie Goldman also won their first international medals. Evans set a personal best of 1:57.27 for the bronze medal in the 200m freestyle as American Allison Schmitt triumphed (1:56.10). Goldman also won the bronze in the 800m freestyle (8:26.38) as former world champion Kate Ziegler re-emerged as a force in the event, winning in 8:21.59.

Reformed bad boy Nick D'Arcy was the best performed of the Australian men yesterday, claiming the silver medal behind Olympic and world champion Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly.

Phelps dropped the 200m freestyle to focus on this event and triumphed in the fastest time in the world this year, 1:54.11.

D'Arcy, who had never raced Phelps before, was a strong second in 1:54.73, just outside his personal best time. He said a fast morning heat had taken a slight edge off him.

But after serving his two-year suspension for misconduct, he was thrilled to have the opportunity to be back racing at this level.

“I'm pretty happy with the time, and happy to be back on the international scene,” he said.

“I was toe-to-to right next to (Phelps). He's an impressive athlete and I have nothing but respect for him.”

Backstroker Ashley Delaney (bronze in the 100m backstroke) was the only other Australian man to win a medal last night, breaking through to the podium for the first time as the dominant US men exercised their might, winning three titles through Olympic champions Phelps, Aaron Peirson (100m backstroke) and Ryan Lochte (200m freestyle).

In his comeback to championship racing, Geoff Huegill had to settle for fourth place (23.42sec) in a tight 50m butterfly final, won by Olympic 50m freestyle champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil (23.03sec). Huegill had qualified fastest for the final in 23.27sec, but paid for a slow start in the decider.

After the first day the US team leads the medal tally with five gold medals, from Australia (three) and Brazil and Canada (one each).

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