Hoogie guns down Thorpedo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hoogie guns down Thorpedo

By Guy Hand 08/12/2002 10:16:20 PM Comments (0)

Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband won the battle with Ian Thorpe but the jury's still out on who will ultimately win the sprint swimming war after the Australian clocked a personal best with the odds stacked against him.

Thorpe's Sydney Olympics conqueror took out the men's 50m freestyle final on the final night of the World Cup swimming meet in Melbourne, while Thorpe finished fifth.

But Thorpe, who has signalled his intention to move into van den Hoogenband's sprint territory before the Athens Olympics in addition to the middle distance races he dominates, signalled that he will be a big danger in shorter races with his effort.

After three months out of the water and his much-publicised change of coaches two months ago, Thorpe's performance to clock 22.24sec first-up in a unfamiliar event in an unsuitable shortcourse pool suggests better things to come.

But the eight-time world champion said the real indication of how successful he could be as a sprinter would come at the national trials in March rather than in Sunday night's swim.

"Confidence-wise it could go either way for me," Thorpe said.

"I'm happy with how I'm training and I don't think swimming here gives me the best indicator of where I'm at.

"That was a good swim but I've got a lot of work to do. I go over to Europe soon and hopefully that will be a better indicator and then there's the trials, which will be a good indicator."

Olympic 100m champion van den Hoogenband believes Thorpe will be a big danger in the blue ribbon sprint once he gets into peak form and used the Australian's presence to drive him to victory.

"Having Ian there got me a little more focused and a little more caring about what isn't my main event," said van den Hoogenband, who finished second to Grant Hackett in the 200m freestyle on Saturday night.

Elsewhere, Elka Graham broke her second Commonwealth record in as many nights and won her third title of the meet with another stunning swim in the women's 200m freestyle to add to her 100m and 400m gold medals.

The 21-year-old from Sydney broke Susie O'Neill's long-standing Australian and Commonwealth mark with a 1:55.12, which was just 1.08 outside Sunday night's runner-up Lindsay Benko's world mark.

For the second night in a row, Graham spent part of her race under world record pace, crediting a recent stint training at altitude for her performances in Melbourne.

But Graham is facing a less joyous couple of days, going into hospital on Tuesday to have two wisdom teeth removed.

Other Australian winners included Matt Welsh (51.56) in the men's 100m backstroke, Felicity Galvez (2:08.62) in the women's 200m butterfly, Giaan Rooney (28.04) in the women's 50m backstroke and Stephen Penfold (14:47.48) in the men's 1,500m freestyle.

Australia was the most successful nation at the meet with 11 victories.

Four-time winner in Melbourne, German Thomas Rupprath, and Sweden's Emma Igelstrom, who won three events, were named male and female swimmers of the meet.

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