Aussie Stars to Compete at Grand Prix This Weekend

By Ian Hanson

BRISBANE, May 10. AUSTRALIA'S leading swimmers, including six Olympic gold medalists will be among the star attractions when the cream of the Aussie swim team converge on Brisbane’s Chandler Aquatic Centre this weekend, May 12-13, for the opening Telstra Swimming Grand Prix swim meet.

Australia’s World Championship and East Asian Games teams will compete for over US$60,000 in prize money over the three-meet series which will see the Dolphins compete in Melbourne (June 16 and 17) and Brisbane (July 7 and 8) – the farewell meet before the team leaves for the Ninth FINA World Championships in Fukuoka (July 16-29, 2001).

Olympic golden boys Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Michael Klim, William Kirby, Todd Pearson and Ashley Callus will be joined by Giaan Rooney, Leisel Jones, Petria Thomas, Matt Welsh and Geoff Huegill before the Dolphins move into their orientation camp on the Sunshine Coast.

Saturday will see Thorpe, Pearson, Kirby and Callus line up in the 100 meter freestyle – the first event on the program while Klim will compete in the 200 meter butterfly against Olympic bronze medalist Justin Norris.

Thorpe, Pearson and Kirby will be joined by World Championship team members Antony Matkovich and Leon Dunne in the 200m freestyle on Sunday.

Swimmers will compete for US$400 a win, $200 for second and $100 for third – with prize money and prizes to seventh place in each final.

Coaches will also share in the US$75,000 prize pool for the first time, with over $14,000 to be shared among the coaches, in a major initiative by Australian Swimming Inc.

The two day meet will also feature the Australian team bound for Osaka on May 19, for the East Asian Games – a 31-strong team, which includes Olympians Trent Steed and Rob Van Der Zant – and a host of emerging stars including Stephen Penfold, Jim Piper, Leigh McBean, Lara Davenport, Felicity Galvez and Kate Krywulycz.

The East Asian Games team, to be led by National Youth coach Leigh Nugent, will be in camp on the Gold Coast immediately after the Telstra Grand Prix.

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