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Hackett Wins Easily in 400m Freestyle

Posted July. 26, 2005 03:08,   


The ticket to a match at the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships is $115 Canadian (around 97,000 won). The audience has to sit in aluminum benches without backs under the scorching sun, but on July 25, the first day of the championship, all 13,000 seats at the outdoor pool in Jean-Drapeau Park in Montreal, Canada were full.

There was one reason for this. Fans wanted to see American Michael Phelps (20), winner of six gold medals at the Athens Olympics, square-off with Grant Hackett (25), pride of Australia and “master of long distance.”

The first Phelps-Hackett face-off was in the man’s 400m freestyle. However, what was supposed to be the match of the century ended up not occurring. Phelps, who entered the preliminaries in lane five in group seven, came in seventh in the group (18th overall) at 3:50:53.

Phelps commented, “I am disappointed as well. I guess I am not ready yet. I will do better in the 400m free style relay,” and hurried away. Hackett, on the other hand, was proud and dignified. He appeared with his zipper in his swimsuit lowered all the way down his back and said, “It was a shock. As I swam the first 10 meters I wondered why Phelps could be this bad. He should have trained more.”

In the finals, Hackett won the gold with a record time of 3:42:91.

However, Phelps was not a loser to the end. He played a crucial role in the United States setting a new world record (3:13:77) and winning the gold medal in the men’s 400m relay as the first swimmer for the team.

Meanwhile, Yoo Seung-hyun finished with a time of 1:02:86 in the group eight preliminaries in the men’s 100m breaststroke, setting a new Korean record (previous record: 1997, Cho Gwang-je, 1:02:94) by 0.08 seconds.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com