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Klim Impresses in Comeback; Graham, Rooney Shine at Victoria Champs -- January 6, 2004 Michael Klim, post race interview

By Phillip Whitten

MELBOURNE, January 6. AUSSIE Olympians Michael Klim, Elka Graham and Giaan Rooney stole the show on the final night of competition of the Victoria Age and Open State Championships in Melbourbe.

Klim was making his debut following two serious surgeries. The former WR-holder in both the 100 fly and 100 free, he won the 100 free tonight with a strong second lap. Trailing Brett Hawke at the 50, 23.51 to 23.53, Klim looked every bit his old self as he powered away coming home to touch in 49.86 to Hawke's 50.87. FOr now, Klim said, he plans to focus on freestyle rather than risk further injury with the fly.

Elka Graham completed her sweep of the freestyle events through 400 meters by taking the 50 and 200. The 50 was relatively easy as she clocked 26.07 to Shayne Reese's 26.33. In the 200, she trailed Giaan Rooney at the halfway mark, 59.30 to 59.62, with Reese at her shoulder. But the Olympic veteran pulled away to win in 1:59.89. Rooney (2:00.97) and Reese (2:01.58) followed.

Rooney bounced back in the very next event, setting a state and All-Comers mark of 29.01 in the 50 back. THe old Victorian record was 29.04 set by Rooney last year while the All-Comers standard stood at 29.55 by Dyana Calub four years ago. Second place went to 13 year-old Mika Ikeda of Japan in 30.10.

Brooke Hanson, upset by Sarah Kasoulis in the 100 breast yesterday, brooked no opposition today, taking the 200 breast in 2:28.82. Kasoulis was second in 2:31.71

Rachel Coffee won the 100 fly in 1:01.52 while Shayne Reese led off her team's 4 x 100 free relay in 55.87, a time that would have won the open 100 meters.

Ray Hass showed he is recovered from his motorcycle injurey suffered two summers ago in Europe, as he won the 200 back in 2:01.61. Brenton Rickard took the 50 breast in 28.57 and Travis Nederpelt overhauled David Cox, who led through 1000 meters, to take the 1500 meters in 15:45.87 to Cox's 15:49.99.

Nick Cordner won the 200 fly in a sluggish 2:07.09.

Matt Welsh, upset by 16 year-old Andrew Lauterstein in the open 100 back, led off his team's 4x100 medley relay in 55.23, a time that would have won the individual race.

Results: Victoria Age & Open Championship