The FINA World Swimming Championships Staged at Conseco Fieldhouse, the FINA World Swimming Championships may be the most impressive sporting event Indianapolis has hosted and the Federation Internationale de Natation (International Aquatics Federation) is to be thanked. Every nuance of this world-scale event was choreographed into a flawless flow of nonstop action. Brendan Hansen For instance, as soon as a race ended, the crowd’s applause would meld into slow-mo recap highlights of the race’s winner being broadcast on the big screen “Center Court.” Boy Scouts, in the meantime, were folding and unfurling flags representing medal winners, and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir sang national anthems from around the world with ease and polish. Hundreds of employees were perfectly on cue to pull off a streamlined athletic presentation that was spectacular. It’s no wonder that this FINA event set a new attendance record.

In the pool, world records were often broken. Aaron Peirsol (USA) set a new world record in the men’s 200 backstroke with a time of 1:50.52. The old record was 1:50.64 by Peirsol (USA) earlier this year. The USA 4x100 medley relay team set a new world record with a time of 3:25.09. The team made up of Peirsol (backstroke), Brendan Hansen (breast), Ian Crocker (fly) and Jason Lezak (free) broke the record of 3:25.28 set by the University of Texas earlier this year. The United States won a total of 41 medals in the five-day championship, which broke the short-course record of 27 set by Australia in 1999.

In a dramatic race, Ian Crocker (USA) set a world record in the men’s 50-meter butterfly final. Australia’s Matthew Welsh, the second place finisher, was disqualified, bumping Great Britain’s Mark Foster into second and Croatia’s Duje Draganja into third.

The women’s semifinal 1 for 100-meter butterfly looked to be Jenny Thompson’s (USA) race. She held the championship record set in Athens in 2000 and was leading until the last 25, when Rachel Komisarz (USA) took the lead. Martina Moravcova (Slovakia) owned the women’s 100-meter butterfly semifinal 2 and blew the others away. Jenny Thompson ended her amazing career at these events, taking away a bronze in the 100 butterfly. She finished her career in Indianapolis with 84 career medals in international competition — the most by one individual in history.

The achievements of the participating world-class athletes overall were absolutely staggering, not to mention surreal to witness.

For complete results, heat sheets and real time updates, visit www.omegatiming.com. (For the most complete competition news and recaps, visit www.fina.org. For coverage from Indianapolis, continue on www.worldswim2004.com.)

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