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1999 began with heavy media expectations that Thorpe would inevitably break both 200 m and 400 m world records, given his continuing physical growth.

The first opportunity came in late March at the 1999 Australian Championships in Brisbane, which doubled as a selection event for the 1999 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

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Thorpe's rise continued when the Australians arrived in Kuala Lumpur during September for the Commonwealth Games.

Thorpe's first event was the 200 m freestyle, where he led throughout to record a time just one hundredth of a second outside Giorgio Lamberti's world record.

His wins in the 200 m and 400 m and his bronze in the 100 m freestyle in Athens have made him the only male to have won medals in the 100–200–400 combination.

During this, he picked up the nickname "Thorpedo" because of his speed in swimming.

Along with teammates Michael Klim, Ian van der Wal and Hackett, Thorpe claimed silver, making him the youngest ever Pan Pacific medalist.

In October 1997, a few days before his fifteenth birthday, Thorpe competed in qualifying trials in Brisbane for the 1998 World Aquatics Championships in Perth.

By the end of Thorpe's leg, the Australians were two seconds ahead of the world record pace, and three seconds ahead of the Americans, having extended the lead by two body lengths.

Although anchorman Kowalski finished outside the world record, Thorpe was ranked fourth in the world before the 400 m final, which Hackett led from the outset.

Australian swimmer who specialised in freestyle, but also competed in backstroke and the individual medley.

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