Swimming: Ian Thorpe wins 200 medley in senior debut

By Stephan Nasstrom. Ap
Thursday 23 January 2003 01:00
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Ian Thorpe made a successful senior debut in the 200-metre individual medley as he won the event in a personal best of 1 minute, 56.00 seconds at a World Cup short-course meet last night.

Thorpe, swimming's greatest star, trailed eventual runner-up James Hickman of Britain after the first two legs, but took the lead for good on the penultimate breaststroke leg.

Thorpedo's target time was the Australian record, but he just missed that in his first medley race in senior competition.

"It was a really good performance," said Thorpe, who was just five–hundredths of a second off the 400–meter freestyle record Tuesday. "I had two races here in Stockholm and I've done two personal–best times. So I'm very happy with how I swum here."

Thorpe, the world's top freestyle swimmer, swam a lot of medley races as a kid back home in Sydney, where he won three Olympic gold medals three years ago.

"I was a medley swimmer before I became a freestyle swimmer, so I was glad to be able to do it again," he said.

Hickman finished a distant second in 1:57.64 while Dean Kent of New Zealand was third in 1:58.08.

Earlier in the day, Thorpe lead qualifying in 1:59.84.

Lindsay Benko, the world 400 freestyle short–course champion in 2000, gave the United States its only victory by taking the race in 4:03.13.

"I was pretty happy with the race, but I wanted to go a little bit faster," Benko said. "It was a while since I swam that race. I'm just coming back from some injuries, so I was excited with the win."

World–record holders Therese Alshammar and Emma Igelstrom of Sweden delighted the sellout crowd at the Eriksdalsbadet swimming center by winning the 100 free and 50 breaststroke, respectively.

Alshammar clocked 54.00. Igelstrom was timed in 30.51 and she returned later to take the 200 breaststroke in 2:23.91.

Anna–Karin Kammerling, another Swede, was just six–hundredths off her world mark as she captured the 50 butterfly in 25.42.

Russia's Roman Sloudnov was just two–tenths over the world record pace halfway through the men's 100 breaststroke, but faded in the last 50 meters to finish the race in 57.97. Ed Moses set the world record of 57.47 here last year, but the American did not enter this time.

This was the next to last stop in the seven–meet World Cup series that began in Rio de Janeiro in November. The last meet is Saturday and Sunday in Berlin.

In overall scoring, Sloudnov leads among the men while Igelstrom tops the women's division.

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