Keller Wins Pair Of World Short Course Titles
April 3, 2002
USC sophomore Klete Keller, still exhausted from last weekend's NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga., and his flight to the Russian capital, still had enough to win two gold medals ---- one in the 200m free and the other on the 400m free relay -- on the first day of the Short Course World Swimming Championships in Moscow.
In the 200m free, Keller swam a USC-record 1:44.36, calling on his patented come-from-behind tactic to overtake Canada's Mark Johnston and Brazil's Gustavo Borges, who held the top two spots at the 100-meter mark. He won by a comfortable margin of 1.3 seconds, the same amount of time that separated the remainder of the field.
With the win, Keller joined Chad Carvin as the only Americans ever to win a world short course meters title in the freestyle.
But Keller didn't finish there. Though a distance swimmer, he anchored the U.S. 400m free relay team that won in 3:10.64, a second shy of the world record but good for a U.S. record.
In a relay side note, USC junior Erik Vendt, who will challenge for titles in the 400m IM and the 1500m free later in the meet, swam the second leg of the United States' 400m free prelim unit. His split was 50.66.
Senior Rodrigo Castro, competing for Brazil, just missed qualifying for the finals of the 200m free, finishing 10th in the prelims of the event in 1:46.85.
Castro also anchored Brazil's 400m free relay, swimming a 48.56 as the Brazilians finished fifth.
Former Trojan Lindsay Benko used a blazing leadoff leg to lead the U.S. women's 800m free relay to a silver medal. Her leadoff split of 1:54.97 broke her own U.S. record and was faster than any other split in the event, including those with relay starts (usually faster than the leadoff legs).
The U.S. relay finished in 7:47.55, behind only China's 7:46.30.
Former Trojan Mark Kowk, competing for Hong Kong, was 28th in the 200m free (1:49.53).