By Stephen J. Thomas

SYDNEY, Australia, January 13. THERE was no great excitement at the Sydney Aquatic Centre on the first night of competition but that is likely to change with many of Australia's best set to compete over the next week. However, realistically, most of the leading swimmers are in full training only deviating slightly to accommodate this meet with the main goal the Olympic Trials, which will be held at this venue just eight weeks for now.

Craig Stevens took out the Open 400 free in 3:54.47, three seconds slower than the time he clocked to take silver chasing Grant Hackett at the Queensland titles last week. Stevens beat his AIS training partner Josh Krogh (3:55.92) and Victorian Patrick Murphy (4:00.19).

Kirsty Morrison took out the open 400IM in 4:55.51 from Japanese visitors
13-year-old Rina Ueda (4:56.66) and Reina Miyazaki (4:59.14).

Sydney-based Jim Piper won the men 19 & over 100 breaststroke final in a very solid 1:02.37 from Brenton Rickard (1:02.62) and Luke Trickett (1:04.31). The open final will be held tomorrow night.

World Champs 200 fly finalist Felicity Galvez clocked the fastest time for the night in the 100 fly when she won the girls 17-18 event in 1:01.36 from Emma Banks (1:02.88). Victorian Rachel Coffee clocked 1:01.83 to take out the final for women 19 & over in 1:01.83 from Lara Davenport (1:02.03). Again, the open event will be held tomorrow night.

Tomorrow should see Ian Thorpe compete for the first time for the year in the 200 freestyle after deciding to skip the eight-lap race.

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