Sat, Aug 19, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Schipper and Phelps clinch back-to-back world records


Australian Jessicah Schipper and American Michael Phelps posted back-to-back world records on Thursday on a fast-paced opening day at the Pan-Pacific Swimming Championships.

Schipper electrified the crowd with a time of 2 minutes, 05.40 seconds in the women's 200m butterfly, breaking the previous record of 2:05.61 set by Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak at the World Championships last year, when Schipper was runner-up.

"I had a feeling I was going fast. I had to hold myself back in the first 50," said Schipper, who finished 1.12sec in front of Yuko Nakanishi of Japan (2:06.52).

"I can't believe I've finally done it. It has been a massive goal of mine for since, well, forever, but more than a year now," Schipper said.

Despite finishing more than a second back, Nakanishi's time set a new Japanese record.

Moments later, Phelps eclipsed his own world mark in the men's 200m butterfly with a time of 1:53.80, slicing 13-hundredths of a second off the 1:53.93 he set in Barcelona in 2003.

Phelps credited Schipper with providing some extra motivation and said the performance was his best since the 2004 Summer Olympics, where six of his eight medals were gold.

"As soon as I saw her split time, it definitely got me more excited," he said.

"This is probably the happiest I've been with my swimming since Athens. It's about time. I feel good. I feel relieved," Phelps said.

In other action, Japan's Hanae Ito upset world record holder Natalie Coughlin in the women's 100m backstroke, edging her US rival by three-hundredths of a second with a time of 1:00.63.

Coughlin, the only female in history to swim the women's 100m backstroke in under a minute, swam Thursday's final a half-second slower than her qualifying time of 1:00.06.

"I really don't know what it was, but it wasn't good. I was playing a little bit with my stroke during warm-up, but it didn't work to my benefit tonight," Coughlin said.

Japan's Reiko Nakamura placed third.

Canadian distance specialist Andrew Hurd and Victoria native Ryan Cochrane thrilled the hometown crowd by finishing first and third respectively in the men's 800m freestyle.

Hurd said later the roar of the crowd spurred him on "when it started to hurt" around the 500m or 600m mark.

In the men's 100m backstroke, American Aaron Piersol shattered the meet record with a time of 53.32 seconds, three-tenths ahead of teammate Ryan Lochte and more than a second ahead of the bronze medalist Tomomi Morita of Japan.

Strong performances from South Korean youngster Park Tae-hwan and China's Zhang Lin weren't enough to keep American Klete Keller off the top of the podium in the men's 200m freestyle.

Keller outdistanced Park by 1.31 seconds and Zhang by 1.39 seconds to take gold in the event with a time of 1:46.20.

Australian Ian Thorpe, who holds the world record in the men's 200 freestyle with a time of 1:44.06, is not competing here.

In the women's 200m freestyle, the USA's Katie Hoff edged a pair of Aussies, Linda Mackenzie and Bronte Barratt, to win gold with a time of 1:58.02.

The women's 1,500m freestyle saw American Kate Ziegler defeat teammate Hayley Piersol for the gold. Japan's Ai Shibata placed third, more than 16 seconds back of Ziegler.

The meeting continues through tomorrow.

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