By Ian Hanson
SYDNEY, June 21. WORLD champions Ian Thorpe, Giaan Rooney, Matt Welsh and Geoff Huegill were among the big winners at the second session of the Telstra Swimming Grand Prix at the Sydney Aquatic Centre tonight.
Thorpe fought hard to edge out arch rival and 1500m freestyle world champion Grant Hackett in the 200 metres freestyle.
The 20-year-old world record holder won in 1:49.95 from Hackett (1:50.39) and Craig Stevens (1:52.37).
Rooney, who did not contest the 200m freestyle at the Telstra Trials in March, won her favourite event tonight to stake a claim in the 4x200m freestyle.
She won in 2:00.28 from her Sydney 2000 Olympic teammate Kirsten (2:00.79 – a personal best time) and Shane Reese (2:02.20) and followed up with a victory in the 50m backstroke in 29.76, from Sophie Edington (29.81) and Belinda Nevell (30.11).
Welsh, the 100m backstroke world champion, won the 200 metres backstroke in 2:02.51, from teammate Ray Hass (2:03.76) and Andrew Burns (2:06.24).
Huegill, who will go to Barcelona as the defending champion in the 50m butterfly, won that event tonight in 23.96, from Brett Hawke (24.82) and Adam Pine (24.90).