FINA World Cup 6

Thompson In World Record Form Again


Nick Thierry

SYDNEY - World champion Ian Thorpe (AUS) overcame a virus to hold off teammate Grant Hackett (AUS) to win the 400 freestyle on the first night of the Berger World Cup at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre.

Thorpe opened up a 2-metre lead at the end of 250 m and was never challenged, winning in a time of 3.43.20. Hackett, with a 3:44.55, held off a fast-finishing Emiliano Brembilla (ITA), who clocked 3.45.06.

Thorpe's win was one of 8 by Australian swimmers at the 17-event program. A crowd of 2000 people packed the stands, the site of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

On the second night, Massimiliano Rosolino (ITA) took and held the lead for seven lengths of the 200 freestyle, but Ian Thorpe, in another of his strong finishes, touched first with 1:46.35 to Rosolino's 1:46.89. Grant Hackett (AUS) picked up third with 1:47.03, followed by three more Aussies.

The mighty Australian distance program put on a strong showing in the 1500 freestyle with Grant Hackett, Daniel Kowalski, and Kieren Perkins defending the home colours. Emiliano Brembilla (ITA), Graeme Wilson (GBR), and Ian Wilson (GBR) were the challengers from Europe. Hackett was an easy winner in 14:48.37 as Brembilla touched out Kowalski for second, 14:55.01 to 14:55.03.

Lars Frolander (SWE) won the 100 freestyle in 48.58 ahead of Mark Veens (NED) in 48.84 and Alexander Luderitz (GER) in 49.21.

Patrik Isaksson (SWE) used his powerful stroke to win the 50 breaststroke in 27.81 over Paul Kent (NZL) in 27.85 and Domenico Fioravanti (ITA) in 27.98. Domenico Fioravanti (ITA) won the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.51 over Isaksson in 1:00.54. Veteran Phil Rogers (AUS) was third in 1:00.67

Jenny Thompson (USA) continued her outstanding World Cup form with two victories on the first night, first in the 100 butterfly in a time of 57.02 over Johanna Sjoberg (SWE) in 58.39 and Angela Kennedy (AUS) in 59.77. She then won the 50 free in 24.67.

A sweep of sprint fly events and a 100 IM world record for Jenny Thompson (USA)
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

On the second night, Thompson won the 100 freestyle with 53.34 for a new American record. But she saved the best for the end when she won the 100 IM in 1:00.41, bettering the recently ratified world record by Martina Moravcova (SVK) of 1:00.43 from last December. Thompson has now bettered three world records during the current World Cup series.

Penny Heyns (RSA) won the 50 and 100 breaststrokes in 31.19 and 1:07.32. Heyns showed her superior strength off the blocks when she opened up a lead right from the start. Samantha Riley (AUS) only started to close the gap at the last 25. Riley won the 200 breast in 2:24.17.

Geoff Huegill (AUS) won the 50 fly in 24.01, just ahead of Michael Klim (AUS) in 24.03. In the 100 fly, Huegill with 52.44 held off Lars Frolander (SWE) with 52.67 as Michael Klim (AUS) faded to third with 53.04.

Canadian 400 IM record for Joanne Malar
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Joanne Malar (CAN) won the 400 freestyle in 4:09.53 and later the 400 IM in 4:36.03 for a new national record. On the second night she won the 200 IM in 2:11.52.

The two individual medley events for men were shared by the respective world record holders: Matthew Dunn (AUS) in the 400 and Jani Sievinen (FIN) in the 100. Dunn displayed all his superior skills in front of his home crowd to clock a time of 4:10.49, with Christian Keller (GER) second in 4:13.37 and Sievinen third in 4:14.67. Later in the evening it was Sievinen who won the 100 IM in 54.58, with Keller second in 54.98 and Xiao Zhang (CHN) third in 55.95. On the second day, Dunn won the 200 IM in 1:57.71 over Keller and Sievinen.

Australians dominated with 14 golds and 39 medals in total.