MELBOURNE, Australia - World-recordholder Brendan Hansen dropped out of the 200-meter breaststroke because of an intestinal virus today, spoiling the next chapter in his rivalry with Kosuke Kitajima, of Japan, at the world swimming championships.
Hansen, from Havertown, was due to swim in a morning preliminary heat today, with the final set for tomorrow night. But the defending world champion became sick last night after returning to the team hotel from the pool.
He was monitored by doctors throughout the night, but team physician Ken Haller decided Hansen should not compete today, the statement said.
"I was on the bus with him coming back from the pool and he was feverish and feeling really lousy," U.S. head coach Mark Schubert said. "He had a really rough night, didn't sleep all night and had some other intestinal problems."
Hansen won a gold medal in the 100 breaststroke Monday, defeating Kitajima for the fourth consecutive time. Kitajima settled for the silver, finishing 0.16 seconds behind. Earlier yesterday, he won silver in the 50.
Hansen's withdrawal left Eric Shanteau as the only U.S. swimmer in the 200 breaststroke.
Hansen is expected to return for Sunday's 400 medley relay, which should be good news for teammate Michael Phelps.
Phelps is on course to win eight gold medals in Melbourne, and not having Hansen on the medley relay would jeopardize U.S. chances for a victory.
Yesterday was marked by controversy away from the pool, as Ukraine team official Mihail Zubkov was suspended by world swimming authorities for assaulting his daughter Kateryna, a swimmer, at the world championships.
FINA's temporary ban bars Zubkov from working as a coach or official under its jurisdiction until a final decision has been made, following an appeal by his lawyer.
In TV footage captured on Tuesday, Zubkov was shown scuffling with his 20-year-old daughter, Kateryna Zubkova, at Rod Laver Arena. Zubkov, who is Kateryna's coach, was stripped of his accreditation at the event and banned by Australian officials from making any contact with his daughter. He was scheduled to appear at Melbourne Magistrates' Court today.
Meanwhile, Phelps set his second world mark in as many days and showed no signs of slowing down with five more races to go.
He swam the 200-meter butterfly in 1 minute, 52.09 seconds. In a sport where records are documented in hundredths of a second, Phelps broke his own record by 1.62 seconds - the biggest drop in the record since 1959.