Lezak Edges Klim on Final Day of Melbourne World Cup

By Ian Hanson and Phillip Whitten

MELBOURNE, Dec. 7. AUSTRALIAN swimmers continued to dominate the medals stand on the final night of competition at the Telstra FINA World Cup 5 meet in Melbourne, winning seven of the 11 events contested. But the USA's Jason Lezak upset Australian icon, Michael Klim, in the 50m freestyle and China's Luo Xuejuan completed her sweep of the women's breaststroke events.

Another Chinese woman, Wang Luna, finished second in the 200 freestyle in her first overseas appearance since serving a two-year ban. Wang, 20, was among four Chinese kicked out on the eve of the 1998 World Championships in Perth for using a masking agent to hide steroi use.

Wang's reappearance coincided with a FINA announcement it had broken new ground in the war against drugs by allowing Australian authorities to blood-test athletes during competition for the first time. Four swimmers– two men and two women–were asked to provide blood samples to the Australian Sports Drug Agency on Thursday in an unannounced swoop approved by FINA.

The four randomly selected swimmers were not identified, but FINA indicated they came from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The results of the blood tests will be publicly released on the FINA web site in three weeks.

Day 3 Finals Summary

Event 24 Women's 200m Butterfly
Tasmania' s rising star, Nicole Hunter broke through for her first World Cup win, taking out the final in 2:11.38 seconds and stating that her next goal was to make the Australian team for the World Championships in Fukuoka next July. In second place was Commonwealth Games representative Emily Pedrazzini in 2:12.40, with Jessica Davis third in 2:15.96. The remaining finalists were as follows: Rachel Coffee (2:16.22), Katie Canning (2:17.07) and Jordana Webb (2:19.08).

Event 25 Men's 100m Butterfly
Olympic relay gold medalist, Adam Pine, aa University of Nebraska graduate, swam an inspired final, stopping the clock at an impressive 52.09 seconds to finish ahead of Australian Institute of Sport training partner Burl Reid (52.93), with Zane King (53.94) a fraction behind in third. "This is good racing experience, a good hit out," Pine said after the race. Rounding out the top eight were Bryan Jones from the USA (54.03), Greg Shaw (54.04), Eric Sona from Brazil (55.48), Matthew Hall (55.73), Mark Tate (56.32).

Event 26 Women's 50m Breaststroke
China's 16 year-old Lou Xuejuan completed the breaststroke treble. Having already won the 100m and 200m, Luo took the 100m title with a time of 31.11 ahead of the USA's Amy Balcerzak (31.29) and Victorian Brooke Hanson, whose time of 31.34 broke the Victorian record she held jointly with Olympian Rebecca Brown. Luo's time was only half a second off Penny Heyns' world record of 30.60. The remainder of the field was as follows: Wei Li from China (31.88), Angela Kan (32.83), Kate Young (33.39), Shayne Reese (33.76) and Lisa Kempa (34.27).

Event 27 Men's 200m Breaststroke
Italy's Fabio Farabegoli clinched victory with an impressive time of 2:09.03, preventing Canadian Morgan Knabe from taking the treble, the Canuk settling for second in 2:11.45 with Australia's Jim Piper third in 2:11.75. Completing the field were Simon Cowley (2:11.80), Brazil's Marcelo Tomazini (2:14.05) and team mate Jose Souza Filho, Ben Tuckerman and Brazilian Fabio Mauro Silva (2:16.60)

Event 28 Women's 200m Freestyle
Queensland Olympian Giaan Rooney continued her winning ways at this meet adding the 200m freestyle title to her name with her time of 1:57.81, her fourth win of the meet. "I'm pretty happy with that. I wasn't expecting to go that fast," she said after the race. In second place was China's Luna Wang in 1:58.14 with Elka Graham taking third in 1:58.41. The remainder of the field was as follows; Rebecca Creedy (1:58.68), Zara Kurdzinski (2:00.70), Sarah-Jane D'Arcy (2:01.66), Sybilla Goode (2:02.63) and Cassandra Steer (2:04.04).

Event 29 Men's 50m Freestyle
Olympic relay silver medalist from the USA, Jason Lezak, out sprinted Michael Klim in the 50m dash, with his time of 21.99 to finish just 0.03 seconds ahead of Klim's 22.02. Olympian Brett Hawke was not far behind taking third in 22.08. "Michael doesn't lose very often," said Lezak, "so any time you come in ahead of him you know you've done a good job. I only started working out again a month ago, I'm happy to be back," said Lezak after the race. Rounding out the top eight were David Jenkins (22.24), Ashley Callus (22.29), Adam Pine (22.32), Stephen Goudie (22.62) and the USA's Bryan Jones (22.75).

Event 30 Women's 200m Individual Medley
Lori Munz signalled to her newly adopted home crowd that her come-back is complete, holding off a strong-finishing Megan McMahon to take out the final in 2:13.12 with McMahon second in 2:13.24. Finally! Ive been looking forward to this event while I've been here, and I've done it,? said an elated Munz. Victoria's Brooke Hanson completed her hectic program with her fifth bronze medal for the meet touching in 2:14.93. The remainder of the field were: Amy Balcerzak from the USA (2:15.36) and teammate Carly Geehr (2:16.87), Georgie Bartlett (2:19.31), Jessica Davis (2:21.56) and Cassandra Steer (2:22.08).

Event 31 Men's 400m Individual Medley
Tireless Grant McGregor capped off his successful meet by adding the 400m IM title to his already well-stocked booty. His time of 4:10.16 put him well clear of the field with New Zealand's Dean Kent second in 4:12.86 and Jim Piper third in 4:19.27. Rounding out the top eight was Trent Steed in 4:21.01, Michael Higgins (4:24.16), Marcus Robertson (4:24.63), Robin Francis (4:28.40), James Goddard (4:29.59) and Brendan McNally (4:33.74).

Event 32 Women's 50m Backstroke
Queensland's Giaan Rooney took out her second title for the evening and completed the 50m, 100m backstroke double with her time of 28.20 ahead of Australian record-holder Kellie McMillan (28.40) and New Zealand's Monique Robbins (28.76) – her third win of the meet. The remainder of the field was New Zealander Hannah McLean (29.62), Sarah Ryan (29.85), Kelly Tucker (30.03), Sian Cooper (30.09) and Rachel Goh (30.21).

Event 33 Men's 100m Backstroke
Olympic triple medalist, Matt Welsh, completed his dominance of the backstroke events at this meet, taking out the 100m in the world-class time of 51.89. Welsh said he was extremely pleased with his performances having not been expected to even take part due to an illness which had kept him out of the water for the past week. "This week has been a real challenge to get up and swim and swim well," he said. "It's an absolutely incredible confidence boost to put down some world-standard times when I'm not feeling that well." Victorian Ray Hass was second in 54.38 with New Zealand's Scott Talbot-Cameron third in 54.73. The results of the other finalists were as follows: Andrew Burns (55.80), Rahmin DeKretser (56.21), Adam Lucas (56.43), Andrew Dyson (57.98), and Great Britain's James Goddard (57.71).

Welsh won separate cash prizes of A$5,000 (US$2,700) for producing the best performances over 50 and 100 meters during the meet.

Event 34 Men's 1500m Freestyle
France's Olivier Saminadin took out the 1500m distance event with a lackluster time of 15.33.35 with Grant McGregor finally winding up his exhaustive program in second place in a time of 15.49.68 and Nicholas Baker of Great Britain third in 15:50.38. Nicholas Humphrey from Surrey Park in Victoria was fourth in 16.09.51 and Sam Madden fifth in 16.13.91.

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