FINA World Cup 7 - Day 1 Report

HOBART - Australia's teenage swimming sensation Ian Thorpe mantained his stranglehold on world middle-distance with his 10th win from five meets on the FINA World Cup in Hobart tonight.

Thorpe, 16, again showed all his awesome power to storm past team mate Grant Hackett in the final 50 metres.

Hackett had opened up a body length lead over the first 300 metres, charging through the 200 metres under world record pace at 1:51.13.

With the packed crowd at the Tattersall's Hobart Aquatic Centre urging them on, it was the boy known down under as "Thorpie" who turned on his turbo- charged finish to win his fifth 400m race in five World Cup appearances.

He won in a time of 3:42.19, from Hackett (3:43.40) and Emiliano Brembilla (ITA) third in 3:45.40.

It was again an all-star field and one which attracted the huge crowd to a centre, hosting its first major international swim meet, but a meet which has caught the imagination of the Tasmanian capital - the isle at the southern end of Australia.

Also in the field were Daniel Kowalski (AUS) fourth in 3:47.59; Massi Rosolino (ITA) fifth in 3:48.71; Michael Klim (AUS) sixth in 3:50.54; Kieren Perkins (AUS) seventh in 3:51.18 and Matt Hooper (USA) eighth in 3:51.67.

Thorpe still trails Germanyâs Thomas Lohfink in the distance freestyle category of the World Cup - Lohfink has 57points, Thorpe 50 and Jorg Hoffman (GER) 34 but Thorpe does not contend either the 800 or 1500m in this category.

Tomorrow, Thorpe will contest the 200 metres freestyle which falls in the sprint freestyle category, where he leads on 52 points from Lars Frolander (SWE) 34 and Edvaldo Silva (BRA) on 28.

There is a special $5000 world record bonus up for grabs from the Hobart Organising Committee for the 200m freestyle and $5,000.00 for anyone in the crowd who predicts the correct world record time.

There is also a $5,000.00 incentive on the womens 200m butterfly, which saw World and Olympic champion Susie O’Neill (AUS) swim so close to that mark in Sydney.

O'Neill won the 200m freestyle on tonight's program in 1:58.87 from Josefin Lillhage (SWE) 1:59.09 and Louise Johnke (SWE) 1:59.74.

It was another successful night for Sweden with Frolander starting the night with a win the 100m freestyle, as he did in Sydney and then finishing the night with a victory in the 50m butterfly in a 1-2 finish with team mate Daniel Carlsson.

Power-packed Swede, Patrik Isaksson again won the 50 metres breaststroke to give him the double in Australia.

The German team also showed its strength with victories to Katrin Meissner (25.08) over Australian tour star Jenny Thompson (USA) 25.22 in the 50 metres freestyle.

It was Thompson's first loss of the Australian World Cup, after she had won the 100 metres butterfly tonight and after her five victories and a world record in the 100 IM in Sydney.

Christian Keller won the 100IM and finished second to Matt Dunn (AUS) in the 400 IM, while Antje Buschschulte won the 200m backstroke in a classy time of 2:08.23 and finished second to Giaan Rooney (AUS) in the 50m.

South Africa's Penny Heyns kept her unbeaten World Cup record in tact, with another victory over Sam Riley (AUS) and Helen Denman (AUS).

Heyns led from start to finish to take the 100m breaststroke in 1:07.59, from Riley (1:07.83) and Denman (1:09.42).

The Olympic champion over 100 and 200 in Atlanta leads the World Cup breaststroke pointscore by 17 points.