Malchow sets 200-meter fly world record at Cadillac Challenge

Tom Malchow set a world record in the 200-meter butterfly at the Cadillac Challenge  Credit: Donald Miralle/Allsport
Tom Malchow broke the world record in the 200-meter fly on Saturday, setting a new time of 1:55.18, shaving four 100ths of a second off the time of 1:55.22 set by Denis Pankratov of Russia in 1995.

The crowd was roaring as Malchow hit the wall at the 100-meter mark with a time of 55.53, and then the noise became deafening as the crowd realized the world record was about to be broken.

Malchow, 23, came close to breaking the world record at the 1999 Pan Pacific games in Australia, where he set an American record with his time of 1:55.41 in the event. Malchow, Olympic silver medalist in the 200-meter fly, has knocked off one of his three goals for the year.

"Barely 24 hours ago, I was talking about what I wanted to do this year," Malchow said. "There are three things I want to do break a world record, make the Olympic team, and win a gold medal."

Swimming tired, and at the most intense part of training for many of the swimmers before the fine tuning begins in the two months leading up to the Olympic Trials, some of America's Olympic hopefuls still turned in remarkable performances.

Malchow's record-breaking swim was the high point of the meet, his swim inspiring the other swimmers to turn in best times for this part of the season.

"Seeing things like Tom Malchow's world record gets you fired up to swim fast. I'm actually excited about Trials, and I'm looking forward to the intensity of it," said Christina Teuscher, winner of Sunday's 200-meter individual medley.

Teuscher had a full schedule this meet, with her coach entering her in six individual events and two relays.

"Swimming all of these events is getting me keyed up for Trials, and being keyed up is a great thing, because it makes you hungry," said Teuscher, who won four of her events (400-meter IM, 400-meter free, 200-meter IM, 400-meter free relay), placed second in the 800-meter free, third in the 200-meter free, and fifth in the 200-meter back.

Come Monday, it's back to work for Malchow, who knows that now he's on top, the world will be gunning for him.

"Now that I'm on the top, I'm there. I know what it feels like. I can enjoy the moment, but I can't rest on it," he said. "I can't think, 'Hey, now I'm the world record holder, I can't be beat.' Come Monday, it is back to work."

"I've got to be ready for Trials," he said. "Just because I have the world record, doesn't mean I have a spot on the team."

Malchow's coach at the University of Michigan and Club Wolverine, John Urbanchek, who's coached five world record holders, thinks Malchow is capable of swimming 1:53.

"That's quite a bit off the world record, but that gives me confidence that there is room for improvement," Malchow said.

While Malchow wore the new Fastskin bodysuit when he broke the world record on Saturday, he was not wearing the suit when he set the American record at the Pan Pacific Games.

Tom Dolan had another fast night, winning the 400-meter free in 3:52.03, while Kristy Kowal took the women's title in 4:14.44. In other mens events, Brendon Dedekind won the 50 freestyle in 23.76, Neil Walker took the 100 backstroke in 56.88 and Elvin Chia won the 200 breaststroke in 2:17.72. In the womens races, Maddy Crippen won the 200 butterfly in 2:15.40, and B.J. Bedford beat Martina Moravcova for the 50 freestyle title in 26.38 seconds.

Bedford, whose race was the next one after Malchows record-setting swim, said it inspired her to swim her best time of the season.

Whenever you see a great swim it always spurs you on, she said. People were laughing at me because there were tears streaming down my face when I went to the blocks. In all the years I've known Tom, that was the most emotion Id ever seen from him and it was really moving.

Lea Maurer, 29, won the 100 backstroke in 1:01.69. Maurer, the American record holder in the 100-meter back and ranked fourth in the world (her time on Saturday is the sixth fastest in the rankings), was happy with her swim.

"Even though I'm not rested, I can still get a time that his high in the rankings. When (the U.S. team) get times high in the rankings, and we aren't even rested, that sends out a message to the rest of the world that says we are going to be tough. We just have to swim fast a lot this summer. It will be a lot of fun."

Kristy Kowal took the 200 breaststroke in 2:34.28, breaking her own previous meet record of 2:25.84.

After breaking the record, Malchow called his dad. "Happy Father's Day!", he told him. "My swim felt good, and it was getting pretty loud in here, so I knew I was in the ballpark."

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