Australian Short Course Championships: Flash! Grant Hackett-Led Foursome Breaks Short Course 800 Free Relay World Record

MELBOURNE, Australia, August 31. GRANT Hackett and a trio of Aussie young guns – Kirk Palmer, Grant Brits and Kenrick Monk tonight smashed the first world record of the Telstra Australian Short Course Championships in the 800 freestyle relay at the Melbourne Sports And Aquatic Centre. Special thanks to Ian Hanson of Swimming Australia for providing the following report.

The foursome shattered the 2001 world mark of 6:56.41 when they stopped the clock at 6:52.66 – lopping 3.75 seconds off the time set by the Australian team of Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim, William Kirby and Hackett in Perth in 2001.

It is a major step forward towards the resurgence of an exciting new Australian men's team, just under 12 months before the Beijing Olympics.

The record was never in doubt as soon as unknown NSW Central Coast 20-year-old Kirk Palmer led off in a sizzling 1:43.12 – an official time only ever bettered by Thorpe and Hackett – and a time which would have won him the individual title earlier in the meet.

Next into the fray was Hackett who almost matched Thorpe's 2001 split – coming in at 1:42.75 (compared to Thorpe's 1:42.63) and all Sydneysiders Brits and Monk had to do was hold their cool and the record was theirs.

Brits, 20, who had earlier finished fifth in the 50 meters freestyle final, split 1:44.01, before handing over to his 19-year-old Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC) training partner Kenrick Monk to anchor the team home.

Monk, the reigning Australian champion, who finished fourth to Michael Phelps in this year's FINA World Championships, was spurred on by the vocal crowd and split 1:42.78 – for the world record and a place in history.

"Full credit to these young guys, what an awesome effort, I knew we could do it and it's a thrill for me to still be here to play my part in this world record," said Hackett, who earlier in the evening only just missed his own individual world record in the 400m freestyle. "There is nothing like a relay to get us fired up – Australia has a great history of relays and with this group of young guys we want to keep that tradition going. Everyone executed their race perfectly. They all want to swim fast. They represent the future of the sport and by the looks of things the future is great. But we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. I have always said we have the potential to beat the Americans but I'm not sure if anyone believes us or believes in us."

The record attempt was the brainchild of SOPAC head coach Tony Shaw – coach of Monk and Brits – and his boys certainly backed up Shaw's belief.

Hackett has shown this week he is back to his best – nudging his own 400 and 800 metres freestyle world records in two awesome swims.

Tonight he was just 0.78 secs outside his 2002 time with his second fastest time ever – 3:35.36.

And in other record-breaking news tonight:

Bronte Barratt continued on her record breaking ways – clocking her third Commonwealth record in the last month – 4:00.60 in the 400m freestyle.

Athens Olympian Frances Adcock (Norwood, SA) took 2:05.37 – a new Australian record – to successfully defend her 200m backstroke crown;

Leith Brodie continued the record breaking feats of his Albany Creek team mates Kylie Palmer and Barratt when he broke his own Australian record in the 200 IM. Brodie stopped the clock at 1:54.66 – just 1.35 secs outside American Ryan Lochte's world record of 1:53.31 but under Michael Phelps' Australian All-comers record 1:54.85, while; Brenton Rickard established an Australian All-Comers record of his own, clocking 2:05.41 in the 200m breaststroke.

Click here to view event results PDF file.