FEDERAL WAY, WASH., JULY 22 -- The United States's two best swimmers were seeking more than victory today at the Goodwill Games. For Janet Evans and Matt Biondi, there was respect -- and even a measure of revenge -- to be earned at the King County Aquatics Center.

Evans, who was on the verge of tears less than a day earlier, got it. But Biondi, attempting to exorcise the ghosts of a race 22 months ago, did not.

While Evans decimated what was believed to be a strong field in winning the 400-meter freestyle, Biondi lost once again in the 100-meter butterfly to surprising Anthony Nesty of Surinam, the first black swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal and, now, a Goodwill Games gold.

Nesty, who received little credit for his shocking, 1/100th of a second victory over the heavily favored Biondi in the 1988 Olympics, proved today that beating Biondi was no fluke. This time, he won with relative ease, overtaking Biondi just after the turn at the wall 50 meters into the race and winning in 53.42 seconds. Biondi won the silver medal in 53.82 seconds. (Both times were well off what they did in Seoul, where Nesty won in 53 seconds flat.)

"Before the race, I had never been as nervous in my life," said Nesty, who went to high school in Jacksonville, Fla., and will be a junior at the University of Florida this fall. "Everyone kept saying that I would have to swim Matt again, people back at home, people in Gainesville, people here. I was big-time nervous. I could not stand it anymore."

Biondi might not have been nervous, but he was preoccupied. He lost to Nesty in Seoul because he misjudged his final stroke into the wall. That mistake cost him a gold medal, which would have given him six by the end of the Olympics, out of seven events. As it was, he won five golds, one silver and one bronze.

Losing the way he did bugged Biondi, who nonetheless gave all the credit to Nesty after the race. He had been swimming in the middle of the pool and hadn't even seen Nesty, who was in an outside lane. When Biondi touched and looked up at the scoreboard in Seoul, he was shocked. He had no idea his chief competitor would be Nesty -- and that he would lose to him in one of his specialties.

So Biondi lived with that for 22 months, until today.

"The fact I lost in Seoul helped me to train a lot better," he said. "I did think about this race a lot. I'd get up sometimes as early as a quarter to five and swim six hours a day and keep thinking about this moment. For four months solid, ten times a day, I'd think about this race. And then it happens and it isn't anything like you expected it to be."

Biondi, 24, led halfway through the race, but couldn't hold the lead and never challenged Nesty, 22, as they churned toward the wall.

"When things are going well, you feel like you're on ice," Biondi said. "Your muscles aren't tired and everything is effortless. Today I never felt smooth. I had to earn everything I got."

Biondi was most disappointed with his time, which in many international meets would not have won a medal. Nesty's time would have been good for just fifth place in Seoul; Biondi's would have been sixth.

Nesty, who said his frayed nerves probably hurt his time, is a national hero in Surinam. The Caribbean nation still has just 10 pools, but Nesty said officials "are rounding up money" to build a new 50-meter pool in the wake of an increased interest in swimming due to Nesty.

At Nesty's old swimming club, people gathered to watch his race via satellite hook-up.

"I guess they're partying right now," he said. "What else is there to do?"

Biondi might never watch this race again, although he did find a bright spot.

"Let's look at the good side today," he told reporters who remembered his long glide into the wall in Seoul. "I did finish a lot better than I did in Seoul."

Meanwhile, Nesty was left talking about flukes.

"We both went to Seoul trying to win a gold medal," he said. "You can't just say Anthony outtouched Matt Biondi, that it was just a fluke. Everybody who goes to the Olympics tries to do the best they can."

Prior to Evans's race, there was a strong sense of anxiety in the U.S. swimming community. She had not performed well at the Goodwill Games to that point, winning in a very slow time in the 800 freestyle Friday, then losing in quite an upset in the 400 individual medley Saturday. Another loss here, and, well, can a superstar be washed up at 18?

No need to worry. Every flailing stroke of hers took her further and further away from the emotional loss of the day before until she finished the 400 free in 4:05.84, two seconds off the world record she set in Seoul, but almost five seconds ahead of 15-year-old runner-up Haley Lewis of Australia. East Germany's Heike Friedrich, who won the silver medal in Seoul, finished seventh, 12 1/2 seconds behind Evans.

"I didn't feel any pressure today," Evans said. "I swim for myself and I don't worry about what other people think. I think my swimming's still going well. . . . I wasn't going to give up {after the loss Saturday}. I wasn't going to do that. Emotionally, I could have said, 'Oh, forget it,' but I did not."

In other races today, Dave Wharton of the United States and Patrick Kuehl of East Germany tied for the gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:17.74; Betsy Mitchell of the United States won the 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.46; and Poland's Artur Wojdat won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:48.19, with the United States's Doug Gjertsen second in 1:48.22.