AMERICANS win men's bronze medal in Goodwill Games pool

Monday, September 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ Tom Wilkens won three races Monday, including both individual medleys and the 200-meter backstroke, to help the United States to a comeback victory over Europe for the bronze medal in the Goodwill Games pool.

Wilkens' win in the 400 individual medley, the second-last of 17 races in the match, clinched the bronze for the United States en route to an 87-62 win.

The teams faced each other in Sunday's final round-robin, but Europe made wholesale changes to its lineup for the bronze-medal match.

``We knew they would pull out all the stops today and swim their fastest times,'' said Wilkens ``We knew they pulled a few tricks yesterday. But we were ready for them.''

Europe got off to a good start, picking up seven points in an upset win over the Americans in the 400-meter medley relay. Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands helped stretch that to 16-9 after winning the 200 freestyle.

The European team was managed by former Dutch swimmer and world champion Marcel Wouda, who although retired for six months had several swims for his team, including a last-place finish Monday in 50 breaststroke.

On Monday, Wouda was cheering loudly and jumping in the air on the pool deck for most of the races, then went to the edge of the lanes immediately after each race to personally congratulate each European swimmer, win or lose.

Vladislav Aminov of Russia helped Europe stretch the lead in the next race, the 100 backstroke, while Joris Keizer of the Netherlands and Igor Marchenko of Russia put Europe up 29-14 with a one-two finish in the 50-meter butterfly.

Americans Gary Hall Jr. and Jason Lezak did the same in the 50-meter freestyle to close it to 30-22 in a race in which van den Hoogenband, the Games record holder, was fourth.

Hall finished in 22.27 seconds, his best time of the meet over that distance.

``I think I'm just getting into shape,'' Hall joked. ``I think a few more races and I might be ready for a personal best.''

American Tom Malchow won the 200 butterfly to bring the Americans within six points at 38-32 halfway through the final.

After a 10-minute break, the Americans came out blazing, finishing first and second with Scott Tucker and Jazon Lezak in the 100 freestyle to take the lead for the first time, 40-39. That went to 46-42 when Christian Dejong won the 200 backstroke for the Americans in the next race.

Wilkens helped move the Americans ahead by seven points with a win in the 200 breaststroke.

With the Americans leading 58-48 after a 400 freestyle win by Chad Carvin, the Europeans staged a comeback of their own with a 1-2 finish by Lars Frolander of Sweden and Igor Marchenko of Russia to pull to within three at 59-56.

Jayme Kramer won the 50 backstroke to give the Americans a 64-60 lead with three races left. A one-two finish by Jarrod Marrs and Jeff Hackler in the 50 breaststroke put the Americans in the drivers' seat at 73-61 before Wilken's win in the 200 IM.

Earlier Monday in women's medal finals, Australia, led by Petria Thomas' three individual wins and one in the relay, clinched the gold medal with three races to go en route to an 89-60 points victory over an American team that featured 13 rookies on a 19-person squad.

Europe, led by Inge de Bruijn's win in the 50 meters and in two relays, won the women's bronze medal with a 92-57 win over the World.