Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Brazilian swimmer Pereira dominates at Pan Am Games


Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira continued to dominate at the Pan American Games on Friday, winning his fourth and fifth gold medals and tying US great Mark Spitz for most swimming golds at a single Pan Am meet.

The US won four golds in swimming and defending champion Brazil routed Canada 7-0 in women's soccer behind five goals by world player of the year Marta.

Pereira broke the Pan Ams record to win the 200m medley in 1 minute, 57.79 seconds. He took his second gold when Brazil won the 400m freestyle relay in 3:15.90. Pereira did not swim in the final, but earned a gold because he participated in a qualifying race.

"I was very tired because of the last events," Pereira said. "I told my coach I wouldn't come into the water 100 percent, but everything went right and I won gold."

Spitz, who won a record seven Olympic gold medals in 1972 in Munich, won five golds at the Winnipeg Pan Ams in 1967.

Pereira, ranked fourth in the world in the 200m medley, surpassed Fernando Scherer of Brazil, who won four golds at the 1999 Pan Ams in Winnipeg.

Pereira has a chance to win three more medals at these Pan Ams. He also has a silver and a bronze from the 2003 Pan Ams in Santo Domingo.

Despite Pereira's feat, it was the US that dominated the fourth day of swimming finals.

Julia Smit won the women's 200m medley in 2:13.07 to break the Pan Ams record and capture her third gold at these games. Other victories came from Caroline Burckle in the women's 800m freestyle (8:35.10), Matthew Owen in the men's 200m freestyle (1:48.78) and Ava Ohlgren in the women's 200m freestyle (2:00.03).

Smit won the 100m backstroke on Thursday and anchored the US women's team to victory in the 400m freestyle relay.

"Yesterday, it was very hard," Smit said. "I was very tired and couldn't get the time I wanted. Despite that, I got the gold. I'm very happy to take the gold back to the United States."

Shaune Fraser was second in the men's 200m freestyle to become the first swimmer from the Cayman Islands to win a Pan Ams medal.

In women's soccer, Brazil trashed Canada at Maracana stadium in a repeat of the 2003 final in the Dominican Republic. Marta scored five times to become the tournament's leading scorer with 10 goals. She played only three of Brazil's four matches because she was not released in time by her Swedish club.

"I had scored five goals before, but not here at Maracana," she said. "There's a different feeling here."

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