By Ian Hanson
Sydney Olympic hopeful Brett Hawke today smashed the Australian record in the heats of the 50 metres freestyle on day two of the fifth World Short Course Swimming Championships in Athens.
Hawke, 24, clocked 21.82, taking 0.07 off Sydney University team mate and two times Olympian Chris Fydler's national mark of 21.90- established in 1995.
The brilliant sprinter, who spent several years in the USA at the University of Auburn, swam a very controlled race to win his heat, to place him third overall into the tonight's semi-finals, behind South Africa's Pan Pacific Champion Brendon Dedekind (21.75) and Great Britain's Mark Foster (21.77).
Australia's other entrant, 1992 Olympian, Darren Lange clocked a personal best time of 22.12 to finish equal ninth for the semi-finals.
Both Hawke and Lange have now emerged as serious contenders at this year's Telstra 2000 Selection Trials to be swum in Sydney, May 13-20.
Meanwhile former long course world record holder Rebecca Brown is the fastest qualifier for tonight's 200m breaststroke final after an impressive heat time of 2:25.67.
Australia will also be represented in the final by Brooke Hanson, who qualified sixth fastest after clocking 2:28.72 in her heat.
Hanson's Nunawading team mate, Adrian Radley will also appear in the final of the 200 metres backstroke, which will see US pair Lenny Krayzelburg and Brad Bridgewater go head to head in the race for the world record.
Australia's other finalists tonight will be Elka Graham in the womens 100m freestyle, Clementine Stoney in the 100m backstroke and Burl Reid in the 100m butterfly.