Aussie Short Course Champs, Day 5: Another Stunning WR for Grant Hackett, Aussie 800 Relay Squad

By Craig Lord, Ian Hanson, Belinda Dennett and Phillip Whitten
PERTH, Australia. August 7. GRANT Hackett, from Miami on the Gold Coast in Australia, shattered his own world short course record over 1,500 meters freestyle today when he hacked 9.45sec off his previous best time to become national champion in 14 minutes 10.10 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Graeme Smith, who as a foreigner in Perth, was not allowed to race alongside Hackett in the final, clocked a British record of 14:37.28, the second fastest time of the day and second best ever by a European, just 0.35sec adrift Massimiliano Rosolino's European record. The British record had stood to Ian Wilson at 14:40.69 since December 1995.

Amazingly, Hackett did not stop the clock with his hands, but rather his feet after his goggles filled with water and the noise of the crowd dulled the ringing of the bell that warns swimmers that they have two lengths left to race.

Hackett's time would have been about 14:09 had he hit the timing pad with his hand. His previous world mark was 14:19.55, set at the same pool in Perth just after returning home triumphant from the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998.

Having failed to hear the final bell, Hackett, his mind in the metronomic zone he sets himself for racing, turned at the 1,500m mark and kept swimming for 15 meters until he stopped, looked around and kept going, finally stopping 50 meters later. Observers were reminded of a similar scene in 1973, when another Australian, Steven Holland, kept swimming after breaking the world record at the World Championships in Belgrade.

"I couldn't hear the lap bell and my goggles were fogged up so I thought it was better to be sure and keep going," he said.

The vocal Perth crowd, who have packed the Challenge Stadium for each of the 10 sessions over the past five days, gave Hackett a standing ovation for the final 100 metres

"I think if I'd realised that I was really at 1450m and not 1400m I could have gone even faster. I'm really looking forward to swimming it at the World Champs in Moscow, I think I can definitely take it down under 14 minutes," Hackett said

Hackett's split at the 800 meter mark, 7:31.36, is the second fastest time ever recorded for that distrance, bettered only by the 7:25 he swam four days ago when h lowered Kieren Perkins' old mark of 7:34.

It was Hackett's third individual world record in 10 days. He broke Kieren Perkins' world long-course record to become world champion ahead of Smith's silver medal for Britain in Fukuoka, Japan, and then erased Perkins name again on the first day of the championships in Perth with a world record over 800 meters.

Hackett's splits:
100m 0:53.60 (53.60)
200m 1:49.96 (56.36)
300m 2:46.46 (56.50)
400m 3:43.19 (56.73)
500m 4:40.13 (56.94)
600m 5:37.00 (56.87)
700m 6:34.11 (57.11)
800m 7:31.36 (57.25)
900m 8:28.45 (57.09)
1000m 9:25.73 (57.28)
1100m 10:22.90 (57.17)
1200m 11:20.05 (57.15)
1300m 12:17.11 (57.06)
1400m 13:14.12 (57.01)
1500m 14:10.10 (55.98)

Less than an hour later, Hackett anchored the Australian team to a new world record in the 4x200m freestyle relay in a stunning finale to the Telstra Australian Short Course Swimming Championships in front of a packed Challenge Stadium crowd in Perth.

The team of William Kirby, Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim and Grant Hackett set out after the Americans' world record and demolished it in the process.

The Australians finished the race in a time of 6:56.41, smashing the previous world mark set by the United States at last year's Short Course World Championships in Athens by 4.92 seconds.

Kirby, the home town hero, led off in 1:44.97 before Thorpe dived in and split 1:42.63 (the fastest relay swim in history), handing over to Klim for a 1:45.55, leaving Hackett to bring it home in 1:43.26.

The rest of the night's action had been non-stop with Matt Welsh, Petria Thomas and Brooke Hanson completing the 50, 100 and 200 metre trebles in their respective strokes.

World champion backstroker Matt Welsh, completed the treble and came within a whisker of breaking his 200m world record in tonight's final. Having already taken out the 50m and the 100m at this meet, Welsh showed his complete dominance of all distances winning by over three body lengths.

The Victorian's time of 1:51.95 was just 0.33 outside his world record. With 50m to go he was exactly on world record pace but revealed after the race he had no idea that he was so close.

"I looked up expecting to see a 1:54 or 1:55. I really didn't think it was so fast, I wasn't feeling that good with 50 to go but I could hear the crowd and thought surely I'm not going that well," Welsh said after the race.

An all-star field lined up for the mens 100m freestyle. Michael Klim led from the start and was under world record pace at the half-way mark. But it was Ashley Callus, swimming from lane two who took the title in 47.81, just 0.05 in front of Klim (47.86) and Todd Pearson (48.02).

Despite the fact that Callus is an Olympic gold medalist and a World Championship gold medalist as part of Australia's 4 x 100m freestyle relay team, it was his first national title and he showed his elation at the achievement when he hit the wall.

"To do it in such a fashion as that, I'm just rapt. It was a red-hot field," he said after the race. "After the Worlds I was a little disappointed in my performances so it's great to come here and swim like that."

World 200m freestyle champion, Giaan Rooney returned to the stroke where she had her first international success at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, in the 50m backstroke.

Rooney took the gold in 28.17 from Australia's other female individual World Champion, Petria Thomas who was just 0.07 seconds behind in 28.24. Belinda Nevell and Sophie Edington came in equal third place in 28.72.

Brooke Hanson became the second Victorian of the night to successfully complete back-to back treble gold medals, adding the 200m breaststroke win to her 50 and 100m golds.

"I have proved a point," she said after the race.
"Just to know that you're the best in Australia at all three distances is really great."

Her time of 2:23.65 was a personal best by almost a second and was almost three seconds clear of second placed Leisel Jones (2:26.45) and in third place was Kelli Waite (2:30.12).

Triple World Championships gold medalist, Petria Thomas was yet another swimmer to complete the 50, 100 and 200m treble by winning the final of the 100m butterfly in 58.05.

After 30 races in two weeks Thomas was starting to feel the effects of her extensive program maginally missing the Commonwealth record she set in last night's semifinals. Melanie Houghton from Queensland collected the silver medal in 1:00.16 and Julia Ham was third in 1:00.50.

Evergreen, Phil Rogers became the oldest Australian swimmer to swim a personal best time since Sir Frank Baurepaire, 70 years ago, when he set a new Australian record in the 50m breaststroke.

His time of 27.52 shaved 0.12 off the Australian record which was in fact the last personal best time Rogers set back in January 1998. Mark Riley from Queensland was second in 28.09 and Jim Piper touched third in 28.17 seconds.

Rob Van der Zant took out the 100m Individual Medley in 55.02 from Geoff Huegill (55.78) and David Jenkins (55.95).

Elka Graham took out the 200m freestyle in 1:56.25, just 0.41 seconds outside Susie O'Neill's Commonwealth record. Giaan Rooney claimed the silver in 1:57.12 with Petria Thomas taking the bronze in 1:57.42. However, Britain's Karen Pickering, swimming in the "B" final, posted the evening's fastest time, 1:56.08, as she beat off a challenge from her compatriot, Karen Legg, at 1:56.92.

Sarah Ryan, after several days of breaking national records, was 0.03 seconds slower than her swim in last night's semifinal, in winning the 50m freestyle final in 24.81 seconds. World Championship team member, Michelle Engelsman was second in 25.24 and Sophie Edington was third in 25.32.

Justin Norris, the Olympic bronze medallist, won the 200m butterfly final in 1:54.86 from Michael Klim (1:55.96) and Shane Fielding (1:56.62).

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2001 Telstra Australian Short Course Championships -Perth, Australia
DAY FIVE: August 7, 2001


Women's 1500m Freestyle

1 Rebecca Cooke GBR 15:52.97 NR, CR
2 Nathalie Brown GBR 16:13.27
3 Melissa Morgan SA, AUS 16:25.94
4 Kristy Ward QLD, AUS 16:32.33
5 Belinda Wilson NSW, AUS 16:39.02
6 Ella D'Arcy QLD, AUS 16:53.05
7 Sarah Kallu NSW, AUS 16:53.84
8 Kristy Park QLD, AUS 17:01.80

Women's 50m Backstroke

1 Giaan Rooney QLD, AUS 28.17
2 Petria Thomas NSW, AUS 28.24
3 Belinda Nevell QLD, AUS 28.72
3 Sophie Edington SA, AUS 28.72
5 Nicole Seah WA, AUS 28.89
6 Frances Adcock SA, AUS 28.97
7 Karina Leane SA, AUS 29.14
8 Amanda Treleaven SA, AUS 29.45

Men's 100m Freestyle

1 Ashley Callus QLD, AUS 47.81
2 Michael Klim VIC, AUS 47.86
3 Todd Pearson WA, AUS 48.02
4 Ian Thorpe NSW, AUS 48.11
5 William Kirby WA, AUS 48.48
6 Leon Dunne QLD, AUS 48.95
7 Stephen Goudie VIC, AUS 48.98
8 Andrew Dyson VIC, AUS 49.80

Women's 100m Butterfly

1 Petria Thomas NSW, AUS 58.05
2 Melanie Houghton QLD, AUS 1:00.16
3 Julia Ham QLD, AUS 1:00.50
4 Felicity Galvez NSW, AUS 1:00.55
5 Heidi Crawford NSW, AUS 1:00.95
6 Kate Corkran QLD, AUS 1:01.70
7 Carmen Cosgrove WA, AUS 1:01.91
8 Rachel Coffee VIC, AUS 1:02.13

Men's 100m Individual Medley

1 Robert Van der Zant QLD, AUS 55.02
2 Geoff Huegill QLD, AUS 55.78
3 David Jenkins NSW, AUS 55.95
4 Jason Cohen VIC, AUS 56.51
5 Liam Short SA, AUS 56.77
6 Aran Bean WA, AUS 57.27
7 Louis Paul NSW, AUS 57.28
8 Michael Higgins NSW, AUS 57.38

Women's 50m Freestyle

1 Sarah Ryan SA, AUS 24.81
2 Michelle Engelsman VIC, AUS 25.24
3 Sophie Edington SA, AUS 25.32
4 Cassie Hunt QLD, AUS 25.63
5 Marieke Guehrer QLD, AUS 25.64
6 Melinda Geraghty QLD, AUS 25.74
7 Louise Tomlinson WA, AUS 26.19
8 Melanie Houghton QLD, AUS 26.56

Men's 50m Breaststroke

1 Phil Rogers SA, AUS 27.52 NR
2 Mark Riley QLD, AUS 28.09
3 Jim Piper NSW, AUS 28.12
4 Nathan Crook VIC, AUS 28.17
5 Brenton Rickard AUS 28.26
6 Simon Cowley NSW, AUS 28.32
7 Steven McBrien NSW, AUS 28.36
8 Sam Pendergast VIC, AUS 28.70

Men's 200m Backstroke

1 Matt Welsh VIC, AUS 1:51.95
2 Ray Hass VIC, AUS 1:55.85
3 Leigh McBean QLD, AUS 1:56.74
4 Matthew Spicer WA, AUS 1:56.75
5 Ashley Anderson QLD, AUS 1:58.05
6 Ethan Rolfe NSW, AUS 1:58.19
7 Mark Bush WA, AUS 1:59.27
8 Adam Lucas WA, AUS 1:59.30

Women's 200m Breaststroke

1 Brooke Hanson VIC, AUS 2:23.65
2 Leisel Jones QLD, AUS 2:26.45
3 Kelli Waite QLD, AUS 2:30.12
4 Angela Kan VIC, AUS 2:31.18
5 Kate Young TAS, AUS 2:32.93
6 Sarah Kasoulis VIC, AUS 2:32.98
7 Katie Clewett QLD, AUS 2:33.14
8 Katharine Bigby QLD, AUS 2:35.33

Men's 200m Butterfly

1 Justin Norris NSW, AUS 1:54.86
2 Michael Klim VIC, AUS 1:55.96
3 Shane Fielding QLD, AUS 1:56.62
4 Greg Shaw QLD, AUS 1:56.65
5 Josh Krogh QLD, AUS 1:57.94
6 Matthew Hall NSW, AUS 1:58.11
7 Andrew Richards NSW, AUS 2:00.97
8 Galen Gough NSW, AUS 2:02.05

Men's 1500m Freestyle

1 Grant Hackett QLD, AUS 14:10.10 WR
2 Graeme Smith GBR 14:37.28 NR
3 Craig Stevens NSW, AUS 14:50.65
4 Adam Faulkner GBR 14:58.94
5 Stephen Penfold QLD, AUS 15:03.92
6 Travis Nederpelt WA, AUS 15:18.70
7 Gavin Shill QLD, AUS 15:29.42
8 Ashley Semmens AUS 15:38.34

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