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Thursday, June 1, 2000
PROFILE: Joanne Malar
Pals Limpert and Malar put on show

By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

MONTREAL -- Joanne Malar and Marianne Limpert have always been fast, but not fast friends.

However, after more than a decade together on the national swim team, they finally have become pool pals, and that has the dynamic duo feeling great about their swimming and themselves.


"We were just talking about that at the nationals (in March)," Limpert, 27, said. "In the past, there was a rivalry that carried outside the pool, for no apparent reason. So at the nationals, we sat around for three hours and talked about boys, after the competition was over, (and decided) there was no reason for us not to like each other."

Thankfully for the Canadian swim program, they've decided that they still like to beat each other in the pool. And that resulted in a great 200-metre individual medley final last night at the Olympic swim trials.

ONE-TWO FINISH

Malar and Limpert finished 1-2, hitting the clock in two minutes, 14.38 seconds and 2:14.63, respectively -- the third and fifth fastest times in the world this year. Malar, 24, had already been pre-selected for the Sydney Games and Limpert's performance last night put her on the team as well. That marks the third Olympic Games for both.

The difference this time is, in the past, the two Canadian swim stars were almost teams unto themselves. Heading to the 1996 Atlanta Games, where Limpert and Malar placed second and fourth, behind Testosterone Tessie, a.k.a. Michelle Smith, they hardly spoke. And that, both insist now, did not make for a healthy environment at the Games, even though both swam well.

They much prefer it this way.

"It's so good to feel like this," said Malar, whose 2:13.63 at the 1999 Pan Pacific meet at the Sydney Olympic pool was the second-fastest time in the world last year. "It's nice that we're mature enough to talk about these things one-on-one.

"We never disliked each other," the Hamilton native said, "but at the same time, when you're that competitive and both are competing for Olympic medals, you don't hang out. We never roomed together, (but) Marianne and I are getting to that stage that if we room together (in Sydney) we would be fine and we both do like each other. We both know this is probably our last Olympics and we wish each other well."

"When we're on the blocks, we can hate each other's guts," Fredericton native Limpert said. "But when we get out of the pool, well, she's a great girl, I love talking to her. I have a lot of respect for her. It's settled now as a healthy rivalry."

"It was a stupid thing," Malar said. "But it's so good now, because so many competitors in our country have that kind of rivalry and that's not healthy.

"We're not against each other."
Joanne Malar in the news
Malar, Limpert a contrast in styles
Malar finishes seventh in 400 IM
Happier Malar ready for Sydney
Malar in pictures
Disappointment
7th in Sydney
Kisses for her fans
Reacting to her time
Thumbs up, new uniform
With Mike
Celebrating a win
Bronze 4x200m team
Blowing a kiss
Backstroke practice