FINA World Cup 6 - Day 1 Report

Australias world champion Ian Thorpe overcame a virus to hold off Australian team mate Grant Hackett to win the 400m freestyle on the first night of the Berger World Cup at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre.

Thorpe opened up a 2 metre lead at the end of 250m and was never headed to win in a time of 3.43.20.

Hackett held off a fast finishing Emiliano Brembilla to take 2nd place in 3.44.55 with Brembilla clocking 3.45.06.

Thorpes' win was one of 8 by Australian swimmers of the 17 event program which was watched by a crowd of 2000 people who packed the pool, the home of the Sydney Olympics.

Swedish swimmers, Lars Frolander and Patrik Isaksson won two of the first three events on the program.

Frolander, the European champion, won the 100m freestyle in 48.58 from Mark Veens (NED 48.84) and Alexander Luderitz (GER) 49.21.

Isaksson used his powerful stroke to win the 50m breaststroke in 27.81 from Paul Kent (NZL) 27.85 and Domenico Fioravanti (ITA) 27.98.

The US Swimmer of the Year for 1998, Jennifer Thompson, continued her outstanding World Cup form with two victories, the first in the 100m butterfly in a time of 57.02 from Johanna Sjoberg (SWE) 58.39 and Angela Kennedy (AUS) in 59.77. Thompsons time was just 0.12 outside the world record of 56.90 established at the World Cup meet at College Station, Texas in December.

South Africas Olympic champion Penny Heyns held on over the closing stages to win the 100m breaststroke from Australias Samantha Riley (1.07.67) and Brigitte Becue (BEL) 1.08.43.

Heyns showed her superior strength off the blocks when she opened up a lead right from the start and it was not until the last 25m that Riley started to close the gap.

The two individual medley events for men were shared by the respective world record holders, Matthew Dunn (AUS) in the 400m and Jani Sievinen (FIN) in the 100m. Dunn displayed all his superior skills in front of his home crowd to clock a time of 4.10.49 with Christian Keller (GER) 4.13.37 and Sievinen third in 4.14.67.

Later in the evening it was Sievinen who won the 100m IM in 54.58 with Keller 54.98 and Xiao Zhang (CHN) 55.95.