A long ride from Tampa, Fla., on a motorcycle was worth it for Keith Bennett.
He came to see his 15-year-old daughter, Brooke, in action after she won three events in the U.S. Swimming National Championships last week.Bennett upset Australia's Haley Lewis in the women's 1,500 freestyle Thursday, the opening day of the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.
"I am on an emotional high after the win at nationals, and this just added to that," Bennett said. "I have never beaten Haley Lewis, so this was a thrill."
She said her father was able to take a few days off from his job with an electric company in Florida. "This is a big deal for me after last week," she said.
Bennett took the lead with just over 200 meters to go, winning in 16 minutes, 15.58 seconds. Lewis was clocked in 16:15.73 in a race in which the two swam side-by-side throughout.
"I knew if I pulled my stroke together and concentrated, I could do it," Bennett said.
Jeff Rouse of Fredericksburg, Va., continued his domination of the 100-meter backstroke in Pan Pacific competition, winning the event for the fourth time in 54.99 seconds. It was only the 21st time a swimmer has broken 55 seconds, and the 15th time for Rouse.
The only other swimmer to win a Pan Pac event four times was Janet Evans in the 400 freestyle.
Rouse said he was thinking about scratching from Saturday's 200 backstroke to concentrate on Sunday's medley relay.
"I don't feel real comfortable with it right now," Rouse said of the 200. "I just don't know if it will do me any good for next year."
Daniel Kowalski of Australia was the only competitor to win two medals Thursday night. Two other Aussies, Scott Miller and Susan O'Neill, set meet records in the 200-meter butterfly.
Kowalski and more celebrated teammate Kieren Perkins were side-by-side throughout the 800-meter freestylee, with Kowalski winning in 7:50.28, just ahead of Perkins' 7:50.80.
Kowalski was second in the 200 freestyle, which was won by New Zealand's Danyon Loader in 1:48.72. Kowalski was clocked in 1:49.14, and two-time U.S. national champion Chad Carvin was third in 1:49.38.
Another American, Thomas Bruner from the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, finished third in the 800, even though Australia's Glen Housman had the third-fastest time in the three timed heats that determined final positions. Meet rules allow only two participants from one country to win medals.
In the butterfly, Miller won the men's race in 1:57.86, breaking the mark of 1:57.92 set by Mel Stewart of the United States in Edmonton, Canada on Aug. 22, 1991. O'Neill won the women's event in 2:07.29, bettering the Pan Pacific mark of 2:07.33 set by American Mary Meagher in Tokyo on Jan. 1, 1985.
Japanese women won two events - Suzu Chiba the 200 freestyle in 2 minutes flat and Noirko Inada the 100 backstroke in 1:02.02.