FEDERAL WAY, WASH., JULY 24 -- For a victory in the 100-meter freestyle swimming event at the Goodwill Games last night, Matt Biondi was handed a bouquet of flowers so lush even Cher might have blushed.

He gave it away.

The Californian with the golden touch -- and empty pockets -- had just swept Tom Jager in the sprint events of a major meet for the first time in four years. He had won his fifth medal of the meet and had swum faster in the 100 meters than at any time since the 1988 Olympics.

But contentment did not register on Biondi's face. Although tossing the bouquet to his mother in the stands at the King County Aquatic Center may have been a gentle touch, it also seemed an appropriate gesture, considering his opinion of how he swam at the best meet in the world in 1990.

"I wanted to show the world how good Matt Biondi is," he said. "That happened in Seoul and I wanted to do the same here. But it just didn't happen."

To understand Biondi is to understand the incentives. The dominant man in swimming, he has been highly critical of U.S. Swimming and its rigid control over the money it receives for participating in events such as the Goodwill Games.

A 1987 graduate of the University of California (Berkeley), Biondi has been as active as any swimmer in recruiting endorsement and financial opportunities to keep him in the sport.

And failing to set any world records or personal bests before a global television audience, as he was unable to do at these Games, does not rate in Biondi's book as opportunistic.

His 100-meter showing, at 49.02, rates as the seventh fastest ever. His 50-meter clocking Friday was the fifth best. And his come-from-behind relay anchor leg last night on the winning 400 medley relay team, at 47.86, was the fifth-fastest split in history.

For each, he received a gold medal.

"We're still the big losers," Biondi said. "They {U.S. Swimming} have our money and there's nothing we can do about it." Biondi related a remark he said he read recently by Ray Essick, executive director of the organization. Essick reportedly said swimmers should be content with the love of the sport.

"What I'd like to tell Ray is, since he's got a very important job in the federation, why doesn't he do his job just for the love of it," Biondi said. "The federation gives us a free bag and a free bottle of shampoo and sends our flag up, and expects that to be enough for us."

Biondi's refrain has been heard for a while now, but at these Games, his displeasure colored excellent performances. In relegating Jager, the world-record holder in the 50 and his biggest rival, to second in the 50 and fourth in the 100, Biondi completed a feat not managed since the 1986 NCAA championships.

More content was another Californian, Summer Sanders, 17, who also made the Games her own with a third gold medal in the 200 butterfly.

Sanders, who earlier cut almost eight seconds off her personal best in the 400 individual medley and two seconds from her 200 IM mark, became the fifth fastest swimmer ever in the 200 butterfly, at 2:09.46, and never trailed in her best race.

"I'd say I'm amazed," Sanders said, of her showing at the Games. "I've tried to keep cool until the end of the meet. But now, I'm excited."

Janet Evans and many U.S. swimmers who did not perform up to their usual standards will get another chance beginning Sunday at the Long Course National Championships in Austin, Tex. Biondi said he will bypass the event, and hope that his times are good enough to allow him to qualify for the world championships next January in Perth, Australia.

"I'm going to be sitting on my deck at home listening to the Giants game," said Biondi, who is from Castro Valley, Calif. "I'm out of here."

Holder of the top eight times ever in the 100 freestyle, Biondi is not likely to be bumped from the U.S. team in his most dominant event while on the promotions and sponsorship trail.

"The butterfly is the only one I'm concerned about," said Biondi, who was second to Surinam's Anthony Nesty Sunday in the 100 butterfly, at 53.82.

Manuella Stellmach ended the East German drought of victories in the women's individual events, holding off American Nicole Haislett in the 200 freestyle.

The bronze medalist in Seoul, Stellmach was, at 2:00.38, more than two seconds off her personal best. But it was the fastest time in the world this year, and was the first individual gold for her team.