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SWIMMING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS : Hoffmann Breaks 1,500 Record

From Associated Press

Germany’s Joerg Hoffmann shattered one of swimming’s longest-standing world records Sunday, taking more than four seconds off Vladimir Salnikov’s record in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle at the World Swimming Championships.

Hoffmann, who won the 400 freestyle Friday, took the lead at the 500-meter mark and held off a challenge by early leader Kieren Perkins, of Australia, to win his second gold in 14 minutes 50.36 seconds.

Salnikov presented a bottle of champagne to Hoffmann at the post-race news conference.

Perkins also was well under Salnikov’s previous record of 14:54.72. He came in at 14:50.58 after setting a blistering pace on a windy night. The two never were more than 1.01 seconds apart at any of the 100-meter splits.

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“I knew I could swim this time because that is what I’ve trained for,” Hoffmann said. “All I needed was someone like Perkins to push me along.”

Before Sunday’s race, only Salnikov and Australia’s Glen Housman had been officially under 14:56.00. Housman had a 14:55.25 last year.

In addition, Housman had the world’s fastest recorded time, a 14.53.59 at the Commonwealth Games last February. That was hand-timed, however, and only electronic timing is recognized for world records.

Housman never was a factor in the world-title race, finishing fifth in 15:12.42 in the fastest 1,500 freestyle eight-man finish in history.

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Tamas Darnyi broke the two-minute barrier in the men’s 200 individual medley, his second world record and second title of the meet.

Darnyi, defending world and Olympic champion from Hungary, won in 1:59.36 to shatter the previous record David Wharton set in 1989.

“I knew I was going to break the world record before the race,” Darnyi said. “I didn’t know I had it won for sure until the finish.”

Wharton failed to qualify for the final after finishing with the ninth-fastest time in morning heats and having to settle for a first-place 2:03.10 in the consolation race that followed Darnyi’s world record.

“I did not swim well this meet,” Wharton said. “If I knew what was wrong, I’d have done something to try to fix it.”

Second to Darnyi was Eric Namesnik of the United States, in 2:01.87.

Third was Christian Gessner of Germany in 2:02.36.

Summer Sanders of the United States won her first gold medal after a silver and a bronze. She won the women’s 200 butterfly in 2:09.24, almost two seconds better than runner-up Rie Shito of Japan in 2:11.06.

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“My coach kept telling me that each race is going to get better and better as the meet goes on,” Sanders said. “This is a great way to end it--I’m real happy.”

Zhuang Yong of China won the women’s 50 in 25.47 seconds. Catherine Plewinski of France and Leigh Ann Fetter finished in a dead heat for second at 25.50, equaling Fetter’s American record.

Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary won the women’s 200 backstroke in a meet-record 2:09.15 seconds.

Second was Germany’s Dagmar Hase in 2:12.01, with Janie Wagstaff of the United States third in 2:13.14.

Egerszegi’s time broke the meet record of 2:09.91 by Cornelia Sirch of East Germany in 1982.

The United States won the final event of the championships, the men’s 400 medley relay, in meet-record time of 3:39.66.

The U.S. team of Jeff Rouse, Eric Wunderlich, Mark Henderson and Matt Biondi broke the old record set by the American quartet of Rick Carey, Steve Lundquist, Matt Gribble and Rowdy Gaines in 1982 of 3:40.84.

Hungary beat the United States, 13-12, for the bronze medal in men’s water polo.

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The Hungarians scored twice in a 35-second span late in the fourth quarter to break the last of four ties. Chris Humbert scored three goals for the United States.


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