March 29, 2007
Former Bruin Kim Vandenberg, a 16-time All-American, captured the first World Championship medal of her career on Thursday as she finished second in the 200m Butterfly at the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Vandenberg, who swam a lifetime-best in the semifinals (2:08.06), was seeded second overall heading into the final race. She battled with Australian World Record Holder Jessicah Schipper for the gold medal, finishing just three-tenths of a second behind Schipper (2:06.39) in a time of 2:06.71 to win the silver medal. Her finals time was also a new lifetime-best mark for the former Bruin and makes Vandenberg the third fastest American ever in the 200 Fly behind Olympic gold medal winners and world record holders, Misty Hyman and Mary T Meagher.
"Kim has taken in this experience and is so appreciative of all the emails and support she has been given," said head UCLA coach Cyndi Gallagher. "She truly believes that she could not be where she is with out the support of UCLA, all of her coaches, her family, the team (past and present!), the crazy UCLA parents and all the UCLA staff that has bent over backwards to make her life easier so she could reach her goals."
Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak - the former world champion - took home the bronze medal (2:06.90). Jedrzejczak defeated Vandenberg at the World University Games two years ago.
"This is the biggest competition I've ever had in my life," said Vandenberg. T"his moment tonight was what pushed me. It makes me want to train even harder and get faster. It's so amazing swimming in Australia next to Jessicah. She really pushed me to do my best. I thank her a lot for my improvement."
Vandenberg has been serving as an undergraduate assistant coach the past year while working on her Bachelors Degree. She continues to train with head swim coach Cyndi Gallagher.
Kim also competed in the 50 fly where she made it into the semi-finals and swam a personal-best time.
"The experience for me as a coach at Worlds has been great too," added Gallagher. "I have been able to touch base with my favorite Swedish swimmer, Malin Svahnstrom, and watch some very exciting races."
Svahnstrom competed in the prelims of the 200m IM and on Sweden's 800m Free Relay.
Vandenberg will next swim for the U.S. in the Dual in the Pool on April 3, a swim meet between American swimmers and Australian swimmers.