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Swimming Day 1 Preview: Wave making and record breaking in store

Source:     2008-08-08  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  
(BEIJING, August 8) -- The Water Cube will welcome its first wave of swimmers on Saturday, August 9, Day 1 of the Olympics. The preliminary rounds include Men's 400m Individual Medley, 400m Freestyle, and 100m Breaststroke as well as Woman's 100m Butterfly, 400m Individual Medley and 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay.

The first race is Men's 400m Individual Medley where the spotlight will be on swimming superstar Michael Phelps (USA). Phelps is the defending Olympic champion, current world champion and world record-holder in the event. Every heat counts in his historic bid to secure eight gold medals. Phelps' biggest challenge comes from teammate and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte. The eight fastest swimmers in the prelim will qualify for the final race on Sunday, August 10.

Eyes will also be on Katie Hoff of the United States who will swim in the Women's 400m Individual Medley. This will be the second Olympics for the 19-year-old swimmer who finished 17th in the event at the 2004 Athens Games. Now the world record holder in the 400m IM, Hoff is looking to take her first Olympic gold in Sunday's final. Ex-world-record holder Stephanie Rice from Australia and former Olympic medalist Kristy Coventry from Zimbabwe are also expected to be top contenders.

In women's 100m Butterfly, the competition is predicted to play out between Athens gold medalist and five-world-record holder Lisbeth Trickett of Australia, fellow Australian Jessicah Schipper, and 22-year-old Christine Magnuson of the United States who swam the three fastest times this year.

In Women's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, the Netherlands will be an event leader. The team of Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk, and Marleen Veldhuis broke the event world record in Eindhoven, Netherlands this March, clocking 3:33.62. A gold medal in the event would be the country's first since the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Team USA is strong and will be a top contender along with Australia. The US team boasts the experienced Natalie Coughlin and 41-year-old Dara Torres, who have been the fastest finishers in 2008 for the 100m Freestyle. Australia is the reigning 2007 FINA world champion in the event and has top swimmers Lisbeth Trickett and Cate Campbell to show.

The competition will also be strong in the Men's 400m Freestyle preliminary among two-time 1500m Freestyle gold-medalist Australian Grant Hackett, the reigning world champion Park Tae-hwan of the Republic of Korea and Athens 1500m Freestyle silver medalist Larsen Jensen of the United States. Hackett was the silver-medal winner in 2004 and swam the fastest event time in 2008 but the 28-year-old swimmer didn't make it to the podium at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne after suffering from a shoulder injury and undiagnosed asthma.

Men's 100m Breaststroke will feature US world-record holder Brendan Hansen and Athens gold medalist Kitajima Kosuke of Japan. Hansen is the defending two-time world champion and holds the five fastest times in history for the event.


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