Former Petersburg High School swimmer Derek Gibb reached the finals in his first major international competition Saturday, finishing eighth in the men's 50-meter backstroke at the FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Cup meet at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y.
The meet, which was held using the short-course meters format (25-meter pool), featured about 200 of the world's top swimmers. It is one of seven stops in an international series of races and the only stop in the United States for the 2002-03 series. Two weeks ago the series was in Brazil, and in two weeks the series stops in Shanghai, China.
Gibb, a 1999 Petersburg graduate whose family now lives in Juneau, is a junior at Auburn University.
At last summer's USA Swimming National Championships, Gibb earned a spot on the U.S. national team for the 2003 World University Games in August in South Korea.
On Saturday, Gibb posted a time of 26.29 seconds in the 50 back finals to finish in eighth place. Gibb, who was seeded ninth out of 15 swimmers in the event entering the meet, took seventh in Saturday morning's preliminaries in 26.18. Only the top eight swimmers in each event's preliminary round advanced to the finals.
In his other event on Saturday, Gibb finished 22nd in the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries with a time of 23.18 seconds. Gibb was seeded 33rd out of 38 swimmers in the event before the meet opened.
On Friday, Gibb finished 25th in the 100-meter freestyle preliminaries with a time of 50.87. Gibb was seeded 35th out of 39 swimmers entered in the event.
Also on Friday, Gibb took 13th place in the 100-meter backstroke preliminaries with a time of 58.33. Gibb was seeded 16th out of 19 swimmers in the event.
Overall, the meet saw three world records fall, as well as five American and 12 U.S. Open records.
Natalie Coughlin of the U.S. did most of the record book rewriting, with world and American records in the women's 100-meter backstroke, the 100-meter individual medley and the 100-meter butterfly.
Coughlin also broke the American record in the 50-meter backstroke. She also won the 200-meter backstroke event, but not in record time.
The other American record broken at the meet was by Amanda Beard in the 200-meter breaststroke.
"I didn't expect any records, that's for sure," Coughlin said in a press release from USA Swimming. "I expected to win my events, but that's about it."