By Stephen J. Thomas
(with Phillip Whitten)
Hobart, Australia – World record-holder Lenny Krayzelburg suffered a rare defeat Thursday when he was beaten by a touch in the 100m backstroke on the first night of the FINA World Cup VI.
Krayzelburg qualified second fastest for the final behind Aussie Josh Watson. Lenny started strongly and led at all three turns keeping a half body on Watson. However he didn’t see the other Aussie out in lane two, Matt Welsh, come home very strongly and produce a great stretch to the wall to win in 52.67. Krazelberg was second in 52.85 with Watson third in 53.31. Although certainly an upset, Welsh pointed out he had the world’s fastest short course time over this distance last year.
Krayzelburg’s Trojan Swim Club teammate, Lindsay Benko, fared better in the Tasmanian capital, winning the women’s 200m freestyle by a touch over Australia’s Kasey Giteau, 1:57.67 to 1:57.74 and taking the 200m backstroke in 2:09.99, almost a second ahead of China’s Zhan Shu.
Australians won the majority of the men’s events while China dominated the women’s events. Australia’s Michael Klim was a double winner, easily winning the 100 free in 47.83, well ahead of teammate, Ian Thorpe, and cruising to victory in the 50 fly (23.55) ahead of Canada’s Garret Pulle. Thorpe was an easy victory in the 400 free, his 3:43.23 almost exactly two seconds faster than Japan’s Masarto Hirano. Ryan Mitchell glided to a win in the 200m breast for the fifth victory for the host men’s team.
Finland’s Jani Sievinen, who holds both long course world records in the medley, won both the 100 (55.52) and 400 IM (4:13.82). Canada’s Shamek Pietucha took the 200m fly (1:5671) while China’s Zhu Yi won the 50m breast (27.96).
Chinese women took four of the women’s events. Han Xue took the 50m free (25.45), Ruan Yi swam a very fast 58.29 to take the 100 fly, while unknowns Zhang Yan nabbed the 800 free (8;30.00) and Zhan Shu edged Kristine Quance-Julian in the 200 IM (2:10.91).
Multi-world record holder Penny Heyns of South Africa took the 100m breast, edging Australia’s former world record-holder Rebecca Brown, 1:07.38 to 1:07.57. Australia’s Dyana Calub emerged the winner in the 50m back (28.34).
Stephen J. Thomas is the chief Australian correspondent for Swimming World and Swiminfo.com.