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Swimming preview - 4 August

04 August 2002

The stage is set for Australia’s Grant Hackett of to emerge from the giant Commonwealth Games shadow of Ian Thorpe today.

Grant Hackett

Grant Hackett

Hackett stood beneath his countryman on the podium after the Men’s 400 metres Freestyle final on Tuesday and again after the Men’s 200m Freestyle final 24 hours later. And that’s a routine the second best male swimmer in the world has learned to live with over the years.

But it will change at 18:25 on Sunday when the 22-year-old lad from Queensland hits the water at the start of the men’s 1500m freestyle.

The man who ranks second to Thorpe in the all-time Australian freestyle rankings at 200m, 400m and 800m, has reigned supreme in swimming’s individual marathon since 1997.

In that time, he has racked up titles at the Olympics, the World Championships, the World Short Course Championships, the Pan Pacific Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Australian Championships. He is also the current world record holder.

The final night’s action in the pool will also feature Petria Thomas (AUS) in the Women’s 200m Butterfly final.

Thomas became only the second swimmer to win the same Commonwealth title three times in a row after lifting the 100m butterfly crown on Friday night.

Nobody will be taking bets against the 26-year-old world champion adding to her haul of golds on a day when Mark Foster (ENG), provided there are no unexpected qualifying hiccups, will be seeking to emulate Thomas and Mike Wenden (AUS) by winning the Men’s 50m Freestyle gold medal for a third time.

The host nation’s breaststroke trio of Adam Whitehead, James Gibson and Darren Mew will be looking to add to their medal haul with a 1-2-3 in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke final.

They came close in the 100m breaststroke on Thursday with Whitehead and James Gibson taking gold and bronze only for Morgan Knabe (CAN) to spoil the party by lifting the silver.

Mew qualified fastest for Sunday’s final with Gibson second and Whitehead fourth. Once again, Knabe looks the only threat to an England clean sweep of the medals.

Jennifer Reilley (AUS) is determined to banish the memory of Tuesday’s controversial Women’s 200m Individual Medley by claiming gold in Sunday’s 400m individual medley final.

Reilley was initially disqualified from the silver medal position in Tuesday’s race only to be re-instated on appeal. The Olympic finalist and bronze medallist in Kuala Lumpur four years ago is the clear favourite to win over the longer distance.

The second of the two individual medley relays will bring down the curtain on six spectacular days of action in the Manchester Aquatics Centre and give the passionate supporters a final glimpse of the man who has dominated the entire competition, Ian Thorpe.

Info News Service/ac/rb

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