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In brief

Crocker's fly mark a payback to Phelps

By wire services
Published July 31, 2005

MONTREAL - Ian Crocker put the Athens Olympics behind him - and Michael Phelps, too.

Crocker broke his world record in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday and turned a much-anticipated rematch with Phelps into a rout.

The Americans were virtually even off the blocks, but Crocker had a sizable lead when their heads emerged from the water. He was about a half-body length ahead at the turn and didn't have to worry about Phelps making a charge in the final 50 meters.

With arms pumping furiously, Crocker stretched his advantage all the way to the wall. He touched in 50.40 seconds - easily eclipsing the record of 50.76 that he set at last year's U.S. Olympic trials.

But Phelps won the race that mattered, overtaking Crocker for gold in Athens.

That didn't sit well with Crocker, who was determined to regain the upper hand.

"It was definitely my goal to break the record," Crocker said. "I didn't know it would be by that much. When you're racing against Phelps, you always have to assume it's going to take a world record to win."

South Africa's Roland Schoeman won the 50 freestyle in 21.69 for his second gold of the week, though he wasn't feeling well, and Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry completed a sweep of the 100-200 backstroke, taking the 200 in 2 minutes, 8.52 seconds.

And Kate Ziegler, a 17-year-old American, added a gold in the 800 free (8:25.31) to the one she won in the 1,500 free.

The Australian women's 400 medley relay team just missed breaking its world record, settling for a meet record of 3:57.47. It was 0.15 off the standard, set last summer in Athens.

Danilo Ikodinovic made the go-ahead goal with 1:09 left, helping Serbia-Montenegro upset defending champion Hungary 8-7 for the gold medal in men's water polo. It was the Serbs' first world title since they competed as Yugoslavia in 1991. Georgios Afroudakis scored the winner in overtime, giving Greece an 11-10 victory over Croatia for the bronze.

SOCCER: MLS All-Stars win 4-1

Colorado's Jeff Cunningham scored twice in the final five minutes as the MLS All-Stars beat England's Fulham FC 4-1 in Columbus, Ohio. Cunningham came in as a substitute in the 68th minute and struck from 8 yards off a header to his foot from D.C. United midfielder Christian Gomez with five minutes left. Four minutes later, New England's Shalrie Joseph sprang Cunningham, who dribbled in and beat goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny.

TENNIS: Venus' 500th to be a final

Venus Williams saved five match points in the second set and overcame her inconsistent ground game, rallying for a 2-6, 7-6 (6-4), 6-2 victory over Patty Schnyder to reach the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif. The second-seeded Williams plays fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters today. Williams' 500th career match comes in the tournament where she made her debut 11 years ago.

OTHER TOURNAMENTS: Andre Agassi beat Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4, 6-2 and moved into the Mercedes-Benz Cup final in Los Angeles. ... Top-seeded Anna Smashnova defeated Jelena Kostanic 6-2, 6-0 and faces qualifier Catalina Castano in the final of the Budapest Grand Prix in Hungary. ... Guillermo Coria downed Filippo Volandri 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Croatia Open in Umag. Coria faces four-time champion Carlos Moya. ... Fernando Verdasco upset defending champion Nicolas Massu 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the Generali Open in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Verdasco meets third-seeded Gaston Gaudio.


FISHING: Aaron Martens moved into the lead at the Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh with a four-bass catch that totaled 4 pounds. Martens is the only one who has caught nine regulation fish. His two-day total is 9 pounds, 1 ounce.

HORSES: Flower Alley gave trainer Todd Pletcher his fourth Jim Dandy Stakes win in the past six years, beating Reverberate by 51/4 lengths in the $500,000 Grade II race at Saratoga.

[Last modified July 31, 2005, 01:32:21]


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