24 August 2008

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice is an Australian swimmer. She currently holds the world record in the 200 m and 400 m individual medley as of August 13, 2008, and won three gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.Rice is trained by Michael Bohl from the St Peters Western Swimming Club in Brisbane.

Rice was the gold medalist in the 200 metres Individual Medley at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia where she defeated Olympians Brooke Hanson and Lara Carroll to claim the gold medal in the event in a time of 2:12.90, a personal best by 1.19 sec. She also won the 400m individual medley.

At the 2007 Melbourne World Championships she won a bronze medal in the 200m individual medley in a time of 2 minutes 11.42 seconds, breaking the previous Australian record by a second. American Katie Hoff won the gold in 2:10.13, with Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe in second place. Rice once again placed third, earning her second bronze medal in the 400m individual medley final. In a new personal best time Rice finished in 4:41.19, taking .54 sec off her previous best.

Rice continued her strong performance, setting a new personal best time in the 400m individual medley at an Italian meet in June 2007. Rice went a 4:40.79, edging closer to the elusive 4:40 barrier in the event. At the 2007 Japanese Open Championships, Rice smashed her personal best time in the 400m individual medley and finally cracked the 4:40 barrier. In placing second to Zimbabwean champion Kirsty Coventry, Rice set a new Australian and Commonwealth record of 4:37.18—a personal best by 3.61 secAt the 2008 Australian Olympic trials, Rice broke the world record in the 400 m individual medley. Rice stopped the clock at 4 minutes 31.46 seconds, 1.43 seconds off American Katie Hoff's mark of 4:32.89. On June 29, 2008, at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Hoff retook the world record from Rice with a time of 4:31.12. Rice claimed her second world record of the meet, when she broke the 200 m individual medley world record, clocking 2 minutes 8.92 seconds to slash almost a full second off the previous record held by China's Wu Yanyan.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Rice won her first-ever Olympic medal, Australia's first gold medal of the games and its 400th summer Olympic medal, winning the 400m individual medley in a time of 4 minutes 29.45 seconds. In the process she reclaimed the world record from Hoff bettering the mark by 1.67 seconds, thus becoming the first woman to break the 4:30 in the event, (Kirsty Coventry also went under 4:30 in taking the silver). Her second gold medal of the games came on August 13 in the 200m individual medley with a new world record time of 2 minutes 8.34 seconds. Rice prevailed after being neck and neck with Coventry, who also went under the old world record. On August 14 she won her third gold medal as part of the 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay team.

In her Olympic debut, Stephanie Rice shattered the world record in the 400m IM to win gold in 4:29.45. Rice took nearly two seconds off the previous record, which was held by Katie Hoff, who finished third. Rice held off a late challenge from Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, who also finished well under the old mark to earn silver. The two dueled again in the 200m IM, with Rice touching first for her second gold medal and second world record. Rice then won her third gold, tying the Australian record for most golds in a single Games, on the 4x200m freestyle relay, setting her third world record.

First, she broke the 400m IM record by taking six seconds off her previous personal best. Three days later, she broke the 200m IM record, which had been from 1997 and was the second-oldest on the books. Both swims were unexpected for Rice, who took bronze in both races at the 2007 Worlds. "It was a mammoth shock," she said.

Rice said she was inspired when her then-boyfriend Eamon Sullivan broke Alexander Popov's eight-year-old mark in the 50m free, even though she wasn't there to see it. Rice had gone home after the heats and found out about the record via text message from Sullivan. But she said the record made her realize that anything was possible -- and even made her a little jealous. But Rice had her own record less than a month later.

Rice recalls making the trip to Sydney in 2000 with her mom to watch swimming at the Olympics. At 10 years old, Rice admits she was "way off the pace," but says she was in awe of all the swimmers and dreamt of one day being there herself. Now that she's going, Rice is excited for the opportunity to experience all that comes along with the Olympics.

The latest gossip is that Rice is dating fellow swimmer Micheal Phelps.


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