FINA World Cup 7

Thorpedo In Full Flight


Nick Thierry

HOBART - Teenage swimming sensation Ian Thorpe (AUS) maintained his stranglehold on world middle-distance with his tenth win in five FINA World Cups.

Thorpe, 16, again showed all his awesome power to storm past Grant Hackett (AUS) in the final 50 metres of the 400 freestyle. It was the key event, one of the few where the winners' times were faster than in Sydney. Hackett had opened up a body-length lead over the first 300 metres, charging through the 200 metres under world record pace at 1:51.13. With the packed crowd at the Tattersall's Hobart Aquatic Centre urging them on, it was the boy known down under as "Thorpedo” who turned on his turbo-charged finish to win his fifth 400 race in five World Cup appearances. He won in a time of 3:42.19, with Hackett second in 3:43.40 and Emiliano Brembilla (ITA) third in 3:45.40.

Thorpe was evidently satisfied with his time. "That was a really good swim for me. I'm incredibly happy with my time. Grant Hackett raced very well and I had to catch him at the end once again; fortunately I was able to come over the top again, and now I am over the moon," Thorpe said.

Rachel Harris (AUS) won six distance events
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

A disappointed Hackett said, "I am not happy that Thorpe beat me, but I improved a second from Sydney, and I also had to swim a 1500 free in between the two races."

On the second night, Thorpe won the 200 free in 1:45.71, with Hackett second in 1:47.04 and Michael Klim (AUS) third in 1:47.30.

The meet caught the imagination of the people of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, the island at the southern end of Australia. The all-star field put on an exciting show, attracting a thousand spectators to Hobart Aquatic Centre, which was hosting its first major international swim meet. There was a special $5000 world record bonus up for grabs from the Hobart Organising Committee for the men's 200 freestyle and $5000 for anyone in the crowd who predicted the correct world record winning time. There was also a $5000 incentive in the women's 200 butterfly, where Susie O'Neill (AUS) came so close to that mark in Sydney.

O'Neill won the 200 freestyle in 1:58.87 over Josefin Lillhage (SWE) with 1:59.09 and Louise Johncke (SWE) with 1:59.74. O'Neill was third in the 100 fly in 59.58 and was an easy winner in the 200 fly in 2:07.36. Lars Frolander (SWE) won the men's 100 freestyle in 48.32, adding a win in the 50 butterfly in a 1-2 finish with teammate Daniel Carlsson, 23.93 to 24.38.

Ryan Mitchell (AUS) won the 200 breaststroke in Sydney and Hobart
Click image for larger photo. Photo © Marco Chiesa

Patrik Isaksson (SWE) won the 50 breaststroke in 27.93 and the 100 in 1:00.52. Ryan Mitchell (AUS) took the 200 in 2:12.42, with Phil Rogers (AUS) second in both the 100 and 200.

Katrin Meissner (GER) took the 50 freestyle in 25.08 over Jenny Thompson (USA) with 25.22. It was Thompson's only loss in four World Cups. Thompson won her other specialties: the 100 free in 53.65, the 50 fly in 26.55, the 100 fly in 58.00, and the 100 IM in 1:00.77.

Christian Keller won the men's 100 IM and finished second to Matt Dunn (AUS) in the 400 IM.

Antje Buschschulte (GER) won the women's 200 backstroke in 2:08.23 and finished second to Giaan Rooney (AUS) in the 50.

South Africa's Penny Heyns kept her unbeaten World Cup record intact with another victory over Sam Riley (AUS) and Helen Denman (AUS). Heyns led from start to finish to take the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.59, over Riley in 1:07.83 and Denman in 1:09.42.

Australian swimmers confirmed their leadership in the second of the World Cup meets taking place in a home venue with 7 wins and a total of 22 medals.