In the recently completely Olympic swimming venue and in front of a crowd of ten thousand enthusiastic spectators seventeen year old Sydney swimmer Ian Thorpe improved his own WR by a full half second.
Grant Hackett did not challenge the fast starting pace after the first hundred meters in which Thorpe went thru in 53.15 secs to Hackett's 53.32.
He charged ahead and left his team mate and the rest of the field in his wake completing 200m in an incredible 1:49.14 more than one and a half seconds ahead of his own previous WR pace.
With the former WR holder Kieren Perkins and Daniel Kowalski an Olympic medallist in this event, scratching from the final to concentrate in the 1500m and 200m respectively, Hackett had no real opposition for the second spot on the Olympic team.
Thorpe stood out in front and was cheered home to a new WR in 3:41.33, Hackett recording 3:51.05.
On breaking the WR Thorpe said: "I was pretty surprised about the result tonight. My aim wasn't to break the world record; it was to make the Olympic team."
On going into his first Olympic Trials : "I was just praying to be able to get through. No one is guaranteed a place on this exclusive team."
On the crowd: "The crowd is amazing; they brought me home in the last 50. "
On the race: "It was not the best race tactically, but I qualified."
The runner up in the men's 400m free said: " Pathetic is what it was. I don't know what happened. I trained for a 3:40 and couldn't even do a 3:50. I'll come back. I've got faith in myself and my ability. I'll turn it around."
The second Olympic qualifying event on the programme for the first day was the women's 400m individual medley. The leader in the butterfly was comeback swimmer, Hayley Lewis, who led in 1:04.23 from Jennifer Reilly 1:04.78.
Reilly took over and led after the backstroke turn 2:17.37, three tenths of a second ahead of Lewis who had not counted on gaining Olympic selection in this event. She missed narrowly when Rachel Harris came in second behind Reilly to put two Western Australian girls on the Olympic team.
Reilly in 4:44.20 and Harris an improved time of 4:45.98. Hayley had to be content with the bronze medal and 4:48.54.
That was the end of Olympic selection for the night but there were some other highlights in semi-finals and non selection events.
Petria Thomas 100m Butterfly 58.05 New Commonwealth rec.
Dyana Calub 50m Backstroke 28.89 New Commonwealth rec.
Geoff Huegill 50m Butterfly 23.77 New Commonwealth rec.
The finals for these events take place tomorrow night.