PERTH, AUSTRALIA, JAN. 7 (MONDAY) -- Summer Sanders qualified fastest as she and U.S. teammate Janet Evans headed for a gold medal showdown in the 400-meter individual medley at the World Swimming Championships on Monday.
Heats on the first day of medal competition in swimming also had Hungary's Norbert Rozsa tying the world record of 1 minute 1.49 seconds in the men's 100 breaststroke.
It was the third time the record had been equaled in the last year, and the swimmer who set it in 1989 and tied it twice, England's Adrian Moorhouse, chased Rozsa to the line this time in 1:01.08.
Sanders, the Stanford University student who ended Evans four-year winning streak in the 400 IM at last year's Goodwill Games and is top-ranked in the event, led the heats for Monday night's final in 4:43.80.
Hayley Lewis, the 16-year-old Australian who was the swimming star of last year's Commonwealth Games, was second in 4:45.42, with Evans, the Olympic champion, qualifying third in 4:49.10.
Doug Gjertsen of the United States led qualifying in the men's 200 freestyle in 1:48.58, ahead of Sweden's top-rated Anders Holmertz and world record-holder Giorgio Lamberti. The second American in the heats, Troy Dalbey, qualified seventh.
The U.S. women's 800 freestyle relay team had the fastest time, 8:07.60, and only one U.S. swimmer, Kirk Stackle in the 100 breaststroke, failed to qualify. Teammate Eric Wunderlich won his heat in that event in 1:02.57, fifth fastest.
Catherine Plewinski of France led qualifiers in the women's 100 freestyle in 55.61, with Nicole Haislett, one of the newcomers on whom U.S. swimming officials are pinning future hopes, was second in 56.09.
Moorhouse has been trying to pare his 100 breaststroke record for more than a year, matching it twice in 1990. Rozsa added to his frustration with a mighty performance.
The Hungarian, ranked 14th in the world with a previous best of 1:02.93, had a tremendous start and reached the turn in 28.74 seconds, .27 seconds faster than the split time for Moorhouse when he first set the mark.
Swimming started Sunday with the exhibition sprints, and they produced some historic scenes.
For perhaps the first time at a major world championship, the old national anthem of West Germany, now the anthem of the united country, was played to honor a gold medal winner produced by the old East German system: Dirk Richter, who won the men's 50-meter backstroke in 26.44 seconds. Another former East German, Thilo Haase, later won the 50 butterfly.
In preliminaries for the women's one-meter springboard diving, Irine Lashko of the Soviet Union finished on top, with 475.95 points. 9.42 ahead of second-place American Wendy Lucero. Favorite Gao Min of China, the Olympic champion in the three-meter springboard, had trouble with her later dives and was fourth at 451.62 points. The second American diver, Julie Farrell-Overhouse, also qualified at 418.59 for seventh. Preliminary scores do not carry over to the finals.
The top 12 divers advanced to Monday's final.