BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, AUG. 14 -- David Wharton of Germantown, Pa., who was born with 50 percent of normal hearing, set the world record in the 400-meter individual medley today at the Pan Pacific swimming championships.
He won the gold medal with a time of 4:16.12, breaking the 4:17.41 set by Canada's Alex Baumann at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Australia's Rob Woodhouse won the silver medal in 4:18.05; Baumann finished third in 4:18.46.
Wharton, 18, said he saw the crowd "going crazy" and heard cheers and whistles the last 200 meters.
"I didn't know I had the record when I touched the wall," he said. "When I looked up I could see everyone standing and waving their arms, going wild."
He praised coach Richard Shoulberg and gold medalist Jeff Float, a deaf swimmer who was one of the captains of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and a member of the 200-meter relay team that won the gold medal.
"Jeff has been my biggest inspiration," Wharton said. "My coach introduced me to him after the 1984 Olympics and to see what he had achieved with his disability helped me greatly."
Matt Biondi won the gold in the men's 100-meter freestyle and then led the U.S. team to gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay.
Dara Torres of the United States won the women's 100 freestyle in 55.86.