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Hackett and Thorpe to Race 300 meters Freestyle  -- May 10, 2003

By Stephen J. Thomas

SYDNEY, May 9. AUSTRALIAN Swimming has decided to include a 300 meter freestyle event in the first of two domestic Grand Prix events to be held in preparation for the World Championships in Barcelona.

This will see Australia's leading male swimmers -- Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe -- compete for the first time over 300m free in Cairns, North Queensland the weekend of 23-25 May.

Australian Swimming’s High Performance Director Greg Hodge today announced three 20 member teams (10 men and 10 women) to contest the three-day meet.

The events will include the never-before-contested 150 and 300 meter events, including the 300m IM; as well as the 8x50 medley relay, the women’s 600 free, and the 3x200 free relay.

It will see the two time world 400 free champ and current 200 and 800 free world champion Thorpe, against the two-time 1500 free world champ Hackett.

Hodge and the Australian selectors have come up with three very competitive teams.

"It’s going to be a very exciting format with many events to be contested for the first time," said Hodge. "It will be something different for the swimmers and the crowd alike and if the response is anything like we received in Cairns last year I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun. I know that the swimmers always like to do something different and, like the Skins, there will be no real pressure when it comes to times."