Bal Records Second Fastest Time In 50m Back Semis At World Championships

July 24, 2001

Fukuoka, Japan - Michael Phelps topped a great night of swimming for the U.S., breakinghis own world mark to win gold in the 200m fly with a time of 1:54.58.Olympic champion Tom Malchow made it a 1-2 for the Americans,touching in 1:55.28, ahead of Russian Anatoli Poliakov (1:55.68).

Phelps, who is known for a strong back half, took no chances tonight,taking the lead from the start, touching first at the 50 at 25.64. At the100m mark, it was Phelps and Malchow running 1-2 at 54.81 and 55.28.Phelps touched in 1:24.71 at the 150m mark with Malchow at 1:25.03.

'I feel great right now,' Phelps said. 'I have so much adrenaline. I can'teven explain it. I swam it exactly like I wanted to.'

'(Finishing 1-2) is what the U.S. team needed,' Malchow said. 'Obviously,I would have liked to win, but if I have to be second, there's no onebetter to be second to. He's an American, and he's the best in the world.'

Haley Cope won her first major international title, becoming Worldchampion in the 50m back with a 28.51 in a very tight race. TeammateNatalie Coughlin took the bronze in 28.54, just .01 behind Germany'sAntje Buschschulte (28.53). 'The 50 back was the first event I won when Iwas 11,' Cope said. 'I was hoping to get a medal. I'm absolutelyshocked that I won. You really hope for this and tell yourself that you cando it, but until you do, you're just not sure. I can't believe I'm the Worldchampion. It's awesome.'

Ed Moses claimed the bronze medal in the 100m breast at 1:00.61.World record-holder Roman Sloudnov won in 1:00.16, followed byDomenico Fioravanti at 1:00.47. Moses was first at the 50m mark at28.04.

'My tactic was to go out fast at the 50,' Moses said. 'I knew those guys would be strong in thelast 50. I was right where I wanted to be, but then I was pretty tired in the last 10 meters.

'I'm happy to get on the award stand, and I still have three races to go. I didn't get a besttime, but I have to refocus for the rest of my races. I'm looking forward to the 200 tomorrow.'

In the fourth final of the night, it was a two-man race in the 800m free between Australians IanThorpe and Grant Hackett, who took a solid lead right from the start. Thorpe broke his ownworld record by more than two seconds to win in 7:39.16. Hackett also went under the old markwith a 7:40.34 for second. American Chris Thompson was fourth in a personal best of 7:53.95,behind Great Britain's Graeme Smith (7:51.12). Read Chris' journal for more insight on hisrace.

In semifinal action, Randall Bal posted the second-fastest time in the 50m back with a 25.59,behind Thomas Rupprath of Germany (25.31). Neil Walker was 15th in 26.40.

'I felt sluggish on the start and I need to work on my finish,' Bal said. 'I maybe needed onemore stroke or a good dolphin kick to get into the wall. I really want to get a medal.'

Klete Keller and Scott Goldblatt were third (1:47.77) and fifth (1:48.50), respectively, in the200m free semifinal. Keller's time was a personal best, making him the third-fastest Americanever, behind Josh Davis and Matt Biondi. Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands is thetop seed in 1:45.80, followed by Thorpe in 1:47.26.

Kristy Kowal will be the fourth seed tomorrow in the 200m breast, after posting a 2:26.25 in thesemifinal. Beatrice Caslaru of Romania is the top seed in 2:25.00. Megan Quann was 12th in2:29.25. Martiza Correia and Colleen Lanne were ninth (55.60) and 13th (55.98) in the 100mfree semifinals.

courtesy of USA Swimming

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