By Belinda Dennett
MELBOURNE, Dec. 8. GEOFF Huegill gave the Australian crowd plenty to cheer about when he broke the 50m butterfly world record at the Telstra World Cup in Melbourne this evening.
Huegill has been threatening the record over the past few weeks, first at the Novo Nordisk Sprint Cup in New York and then on the World Cup series, but he saved the best for his home crowd, clocking 22.84 to shave 0.03 seconds off the old mark held by Mark Foster.
Admitting he didn't think about the world record before the race, Huegill flew off the blocks and led from start to finish.
"I got in there and knew I had to be fast off the start and really work the underwater turns. I didn't think I was going that fast."
Fellow Australian Adam Pine took second place in 23.61 while Altanta double Olympic gold medalist, Russian Denis Pankratov, took third in 24.22.
In the first event of the evening, American Lindsay Benko, Australian Elka Graham and American Rachel Komisarz upstaged Ukraine superstar Yana Klochkova in the 400m freestyle final.
After flying for over 20 hours to arrive in Melbourne at 8am this morning, Klochkova could not find the speed to go with the lead swimmers finishing a fast-fourth in 4:04.71.
Benko led from the start and held off a fast finishing Elka Graham to win in 4:03.38, just off her American record from last year. Graham's time of 4:03.42 was a new Commonwealth record while fast-improving American Rachel Komisarz took third place in 4:04.55.
Benko said after the race: "I can't believe it, my time is only a second off my PB, I'm really happy with that. I could see Elka and I knew she would be coming at me at the end. I heard everyone cheering and I thought she had got me."
Graham, who has started to believe in the advice from coach Narelle Simpson "to believe in herself," swam the race of her life.
"This time is three seconds off my PB, and an Australian record. I am stoked with that," Graham said.
The iron woman of this meet, Komisarz was up on the blocks only one event later in the 100m butterfly final and despite her efforts in the 400m freestyle she was able to swim a personal best time to win the event in a world class time of 57.45.
Diane Bui Duyet from France was second in 59.13 and Australia's Melanie Houghton was third in 59.16 – the fourth fastest all-time by an Australian.
American world record holder Ed Moses was another swimmer to hit the water first and was never headed in the 100m breaststroke final. His time of 59.29 held off a fast-finishing Morgan Knabe from Canada (1:00.09) and Australia's Jim Piper (1:00.47).
It was a case of deja vu in the womens 200m breaststroke final, with the placings going exactly the same way they did in the 100m final last night. American Amanda Beard won in a time of 2:23.47 from South African, Sarah Poewe (2:24.47) and Australian Brooke Hanson (2:24.73).
In the women's 50m freestyle it was Australian Sarah Ryan who won in 25.27 ahead of Germany' s Janine Pietsch (25.55) and rising Australian star Marieke Guehrer (25.77) – Ryan's time was 0.49 outside her own Australian record.
Australian Justin Norris took his second event at this meet, winning the 200m individual medley in a personal best time of 1:58.16. New Zealander Dean Kent took second in 1:59.38 with German Jens Kruppa third place in 2:00.94.
South Africa's Charlene Wittstock won the women's 100m backstroke final in 1:00.16 from Germany's Janine Pietsch (1:00.25) and Australian Clementine Stoney (1:00.58).
World Cup V
Day Two: Dec. 8, 2001
25 metre pool
Women's 400 metres freestyle
1. Lindsay Benko (USA) 4:03.38
2. Elka Graham (AUS) 4:03.42
3. Rachel Komisarz (USA) 4.04.55
Men's 50 metres butterfly
1. Geoff Huegill (AUS) 22.84 WR
2. Adam Pine (AUS) 23.61
3. Denis Pankratov (RUS) 24.22
Women's 100 metres butterfly
1. Rachel Komisarz (USA) 57.45
2. Diane Bui Duyet (FRA) 59.13
3. Melanie Houghton (AUS) 59.16
Men's 100 metres breaststroke
1. Ed Moses (USA) 0:59.29
2. Morgan Knabe (CAN) 1:00.09
3. Jim Piper (AUS) 1:00.47
Women's 200 metres breaststroke
1. Amanda Beard (USA) 2:23.47
2 Sarah Poewe (RSA) 2:24.47
3. Brooke Hanson (AUS) 2:24.73
Men's 200 metres freestyle
1. Michael Klim (AUS) 1:44.24
2. William Kirby (AUS) 1:44.76
3. Antony Matkovich (AUS) 1:46.32
Women's 50 metres freestyle
1. Sarah Ryan (AUS) 25.27
2. Janine Pietsch (GER) 25.55
3. Marieke Guehrer (AUS) 25.77
Men's 200 metres individual medley
1. Justin Norris (AUS) 1:58.16
2. Dean Kent (NZL) 1:59.38
3. Jens Kruppa (GER) 2:00.94
Women's 100 metres individual medley
1. Brooke Hanson (AUS) 1:02.17
2. Lori Munz (AUS) 1:02.72
3. Megan McMahon (AUS) 1:03.65
Men's 200 metres backstroke
1. Matt Welsh (AUS) 1:54.23
2. Ray Hass (AUS) 1:55.73
3. Sebastian Halgasch (GER) 1:57.27
Women's 100 metres backstroke
1. Charlene Wittstock (RSA) 1:00.16
2. Janine Pietsch (GER) 1:00.25
3. Clementine Stoney (AUS) 1:00.58