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Thorpe's world record sets him on the way


Ian Thorpe (AUS) launched his bid for a magnificent seven Commonwealth Games gold medals by smashing his own world record to win the Menís 400m Freestyle.

Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe collects his first gold medal of the Games

Thorpe raced to victory in 3.40.08, beating his own world best time of 3.40.17, set at the 2001 World Championships in Japan.

Grant Hackett (AUS) finished second in 3.43.48 with Graeme Smith (SCO) collecting the bronze medal in a time of 3.49.40.

Thorpe and Hackett dominated the race from the start and had opened up a big lead halfway down the second leg. And slowly, inexorably, the Thorpedo eased away from his rival and was roared on to the first world record set in the pool by a capacity crowd.

A second worldís best followed less than an hour later when Zoe Baker (ENG) charged home in 30.57sec to win the second semi-final of the womenís 50m breaststroke.

Her time beat the previous best of 30.83sec, set by Penny Heynes (RSA) at the Sydney Olympics two years ago.

There was a second gold medal and a Commonwealth Games record for Thorpe in the Menís 4x100m Freestyle relay.

He linked up with Ashley Callus, Todd Pearson and Hackett to set a new best of 3.16.42. South Africa finished second in 3.18.86 with Canada third in 3.19.39.

Earlier, Karen Pickering (ENG) launched a high-octane evening in dramatic style, winning the first swimming gold of the Games in the Womenís 200m Freestyle in a new Games record of 1.59.69.

She was followed home by Karen Legg (ENG) in a personal best time of 1.59.86 with Petria Thomas and Elka Graham (AUS) sharing the bronze medal with a time of 2.00.07.

It was Pickeringís 11th Commonwealth Games medal and the first English win in this event since June Croft claimed gold in 1982.

There was another Games record in the Menís 200m Butterfly when Justin Norris (AUS) overcame the challenge of Steve Parry (ENG) and James Hickman (ENG) to charge home in 1.56.95, beating Hickmanís four-year-old best of 1.57.71.

Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) is the new Womenís 200m Individual Medley champion. Despite starting from lane eight, she powered to gold in 2.14.53, another new Games record. Jennifer Reilly (AUS) finished second ahead of Marianne Limpert (CAN).

Matt Welsh (AUS) also set a new Games record of 25.86sec to lead the final qualifiers in the Menís 50m Backstroke. Riley Janes (CAN) also dipped under the previous record with a time of 25.96m.

Info News Service/ac/jdc

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