Phelps, Hansen break more records

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor

Victoria - Americans Michael Phelps and Brendan Hansen closed out the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships with world record-setting victories on Sunday.

Hansen lowered his own 200m breaststroke world record for the second time in 15 days, clocking a time of 2min 08.50sec, almost a quarter-second better than the 2:08.74 he set at the US Championships on August 5.

"We make it look easy, but it's really hard and a lot of hard work went into that," he said of the five world records the US men set in four days of competition.

"Right now we'll just go back to the drawing board to see how low we can make these records."

Hansen finished 2.37 seconds ahead of Olympic champion and former world record-holder Kosuke Kitajima of Japan and three seconds in front of team-mate Scott Usher.

Meanwhile Phelps set his second individual world record of the meet with a signature storming finish to edge fellow American Ryan Lochte in the men's 200m individual medley.

"When we get in the water and race it brings out the best in both of us," Phelps said. "Ryan definitely helped me a lot. It's more exciting when you go head to head like that. It really gets the crowd up and that definitely had an impact."

Phelps's time of 1:55.84 was one-tenth of a second better than the world record he set three years ago. It came four days after he opened the meet by lowering his own 200m butterfly world mark.

The six-time Olympic gold medallist also led off the US world record-setting 4x100m free relay squad, and won gold in the 400m medley and 4x200m free relay.

In other action, South Korea's Park Tae Hwan reaffirmed his status as a force to be reckoned with in the distance events, picking up his second gold medal of the meet in the men's 1 500m freestyle.

The 16-year-old, who won the men's 400m free Saturday for his country's first-ever gold medal in a major international meet, crushed American Erik Vendt with a devastating finish over the final 50m.

"I was able to control the pace of the race and I had confidence that I could finish strong," Park said.

Park, who took silver in the men's 800m free Thursday, said his performance over the four-day meet far exceeded his expectations.

"I thought maybe I could win two bronze medals," he said.

South Africa's Suzaan Van Biljon won the women's 200m breaststroke, taking advantage of the absence of Australian world record holder Leisel Jones to win her country1s only gold medal of the meet.

In the women's 800m free, American Kate Zeigler edged Japanese rival Ai Shibata by 1.89 seconds to take gold with a time of 8:24.56, while team-mate Hayley Peisol placed third at 8:27.57.

American Whitney Myers upset teammate Katie Hoff in the women1s 200 medley. Myers clocked 2:10.11, two second faster than her previous best.

The women's 50m free saw American Kara Lynn Joyce beat teammate Natalie Coughlin to win gold with a time of 25.10 seconds.

Rising US sprinter Cullen Jones won the men's 50m freestyle in 21.84, ahead of world champion Roland Schoeman of South Africa (22.12).

The United States swept the men's and women's 4x100m medley relays.

Natalie Coughlin, Jessica Hardy, Rachel Komisarz and Amanda Weir set a meet record of 3:58.38 to win the women's medley relay, while Aaron Peirsol, Hansen, Ian Crocker and Jason Lezak posted a meet record of 3:31.79 in the men's final.

While action in the competition pool concluded Sunday, men's and women's 10km open-water races were scheduled for Monday.