Angie: The Sports Authority

Welcome to Angie's sports blog! My interesting and funny articles will show you the most recent and interesting news in the sports world.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Swimming: van den Hoogenband and Phelps chase the glory

Australia is living the passion of the Swimming World Cup. And Pieter van den Hoogenband is living good days as well, since he was the fastest qualifier in the men's 200m freestyle yesterday at the World Championships, just ahead of the American star Michael Phelps.

Indeed, those two were part of the "Race of the Century" at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, with Dutchman Hoogie finishing second and Phelps third behind gold medalist for Australia Ian Thorpe. But Thorpe retired last November and now it's only between Phelps and van den Hoogenband.

The Dutch athlete finished yesterday in a time of 1 minute, 47.36 seconds while Phelps, who won his first gold medal of the meet on Sunday as part of the American 400m freestyle relay team, reached the second spot in 1:47.52.

Phelps is hoping to show he can make another run at Mark Spitz's Olympic record of seven gold medals. In fact, the American plans to swim eight events in Melbourne -- the same eight that produced six gold medals and two bronzes at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

What's more, if his body holds up at these championships, he'll try again to take down Spitz's hallowed mark at Beijing next year.

Park Tae-hwan, who won South Korea's first-ever medal with a triumph in the 400m freestyle on Sunday, was back in the pool yesterday morning, finishing third fastest in the 200m free.

"I would like to win, but if I don't, there are many excellent swimmers who are capable of winning," Park said of the 200. "If I don't win this time I still have the Beijing Olympic Games."

Park admitted that his 400m win hadn't changed him, at least overnight: "It's my first medal and I don't feel any more famous than when I arrived here," Park said. "Now I'm apparently world famous, but I don't feel it."

We must also notice that American Natalie Coughlin qualified first in the 100m backstroke yesterday at 1:00.38. The world record holder has taken on a larger program than usual for these tournaments, with plans to swim four individual events plus the relays.

And Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe was second in this race.

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