Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
Thorpe cashes in
Australian sets world record at short-course championship
Posted: Thursday April 01, 1999 12:29 PM
HONG KONG (AP) -- Ian Thorpe finished erasing Italian Giorgio Lamberti's name from the swimming record books Thursday night, cutting .36 second off his 9-year-old world mark in the short-course 200-meter freestyle.
The 16-year-old Australian became the first swimmer to claim one of the US$15,000 world record rewards being offered for the first time at the current world short-course championships by FINA, swimming's world governing body.
Then, in the night's last race, Sweden's quartet broke China's world mark in the women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay by .22 second.
Japan's Masami Tanaka and South African Penny Heyns both came within .03 second of breaking the world record in the women's 50-meter breaststroke, but Heyns did it in qualifying and then barely lost to Tanaka in the gold medal race, 30.80 seconds to 30.88. China's Han Xue, who holds the world record of 30.77, finished third in 31.24.
Heyns is the Olympic champion and world record holder in the long-course 100-meter breaststroke. Tanaka's best previous result in a world meet was fifth in the 200 breaststroke at last year's long-course championships.
Thorpe's triumph in 1 minute, 43.28 seconds came a week after fellow Australian Grant Hackett had broken Lamberti's 10-year-old record for the 200 freestyle in a 50-meter Olympic-size pool by .02 second, swimming the first leg of a relay in 1:46.67.
Records are faster in 25-meter pools because the swimmers turn ore often and gain time from pushing off the wall.
Hackett couldn't try for the short-course record Thursday because a false start knocked him out of Australia's qualifying trials in the event last fall.
Instead, Thorpe and teammate Michael Klim came from a half-second behind Dutch swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband in the last 50 meters and dueled for victory. Klim finished second in 1:43.78, van den Hoogenband was third in 1:44.39 and Italy's Massi Rosolino fourth in 1:45.96.
"It's a specially great feeling for me and a great feeling for the folks back in Australia," said Thorpe, who also holds the 400 freestyle short-course record. "I wasn't sure how fast I would go at first, but I swam my fastest."
Klim, Rosolino and van den Hoogenband were the top three finishers in last year's long-course world championships.
Thorpe's victory was one of three for Australia in Thursday ight's nine finals. Matthew Dunn, recovering from a virus last week, won the men's 400-meter individual medley in 4:06.05 -- behind his world record of 4:04.24 -- and Thorpe, Klim, Christopher Fydler and Todd Pearson won the 4x100 freestyle relay.
"We didn't expect it, but we wanted it," said No. 3 Swedish swimmer Johanna Sjoberg after her team's world record of 7:51.70. China had set the previous mark of 7:51.92 in the last short-course world championships in 1997.
Britain was second in 7:53.98 and Australia third in 7:55.81.
Ukraine won two titles Thursday. Dmytro Kraevskyy took the men's 50 breaststroke in 27.40, ahead of Sweden's Patrik Isaksson in 27.57. American Kurt Grote, the long-course 200 breaststroke world champion, was fifth in 27.73 in his first major meet after knee surgery last fall.
Yana Klochkova led all the way in winning the women's 400 individual medley. She finished in 4:32.32, with Canada's Joanne Malar two body lengths behind in 4:34.90.
Cuba's Rodofo Falcon won the men's 50 backstroke in 24.34, with Poland's Mariusz Siembida second in 24.41 and Australia's Matt Welsh third in 24.70. Russian Alexander Popov, who has four freestyle gold medals from two Olympics, finished seventh in the backstroke in 25.04.
Denmark's Mette Jacobsen came from behind over the last 50 meters and edged Australia's Petria Thomas 2:06.52 to 2:06.53 in the women's 200-meter butterfly.
Dunn was slightly behind former world record holder Marcel Wouda 250 meters into the 400 medley, but finished 3.24 seconds ahead.
"I kept along with the other guys into the last 100, but the other guys just went out too slow," Dunn said.
The Australian men's relay won in 3:11.21, with the Dutch second in 3:11.57 and Sweden third in 3:12.69.
The United States has entered a largely inexperienced team, but Jenny Thompson, world record holder in two butterfly events and the 100 medley, was fastest in heats and semifinals of the women's 100 freestyle. Her 53.27 in the semifinals was .25 ahead of Dutch swimmer Inge de Briujn.
Klim, the long-course world champion in the 100 butterfly, reached the finals of that event here although his semifinal winning time of 52.35 was fifth fastest overall. World record holder James Hickman of Britain won his semifinal in 51.51.
Japan had another success in the women's 100 backstroke semifinals, where long-course world championships silver medalist Mai Nakamura was fastest in 59.90.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.