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Aussies Launch World Cup -- November 15, 2001

MELBOURNE, November 15. THE Hon. Justin Madden MLC Minister for Sport and Recreation and John Devitt, President of Australian Swimming launched the Telstra 2001 Swimming World Cup at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre today.

Australia’s Telstra Dolphins Swim Team, including world champions Grant Hackett, Matt Welsh and Michael Klim will spearhead a line-up of international stars at the World Cup at MSAC from December 7–9.

"More than 250 of the world’s best swimmers will be in Melbourne for the event, along with their support crews, pumping an estimated $1 million into the Victorian economy," Mr Madden said.

Mr Madden said more than 1,000 local school children would attend the Friday session of the event as a result of active promotion by Australian Swimming.

Melbourne local Matt Welsh revealed he was excited at the prospect of competing in front of his home crowd for the first time since becoming the 100m backstroke world champion.

"This pool has always been very good to me and I can’t wait to get in and race again," said Welsh who remains the only person to have broken a world record in the Melbourne pool.

Welsh will be just one of the swimmers hoping to share in the AU$150,000 (US$75,000) prize money on offer while coaches will, for the first time, also be included in the dash for cash.

Swedish swimmers Jenny Redlund and Josephine Lillhage are hoping to obtain some "home-pool" advantage having trained along side Welsh under coach Ian Pope at the MSAC pool for the past two months.

"It’s great for them to come here and experience the interest and hype surrounding the sport in Australia," said Ian Pope as the girls posed alongside Australian stars Welsh and Brooke Hanson.